History of Assistance League of Colorado Springs

Chapter History

  • In January 1968, National Assistance League held a coffee at the Broadmoor to promote Assistance League. Seventy local women attended, plus five from the Denver chapter and 10 from Pueblo.
  • August 1968 was the start of Assistance League guild when 22 women met and elected officers. Our Denver counselors advised our chapter to make Operation School Bell® its philanthropic focus. Denver also recommended Operation School Bell be funded by opening a thrift shop called Bargain Box.
  • In July 1969, the guild was recognized as a tax exempt 501(c)(3) charitable organization.
  • On November 18, 1970, the guild was chartered as the 32nd chapter of National Assistance League.
  • The Pikes Peak Auxiliary was started in early 1995 and continued through mid-2016.

Real Estate

  • Chapter meetings started at the Girls Club on S. Tejon, then a bank at Union and Platte.
  • In 1969, the chapter opened the Bargain Box in a small rental house on S. Tejon. After several moves, the chapter purchased the building at 211 E. Costilla in 1976. With an addition and modifications completed in 1983, this served as the Box and Operation School Bell home for 38 years.
  • Assistance League of Colorado Springs purchased the Chapter Service Center in 1989 and the parking lot in 1991.
  • In 2009, land was purchased for a building to house all chapter activities. The land was sold in 2012 and the Pettigrew Auction House on 405-409 S. Nevada was purchased and renovated.
  • In 2014 the new Bargain Box opened at 405 S. Nevada. In 2016, the attached building at 409 S. Nevada was renovated for increased storage.

History of Philanthropic Programs

  • Programs still in operation today include Operation School Bell (started in 1969), Operation Can You Hear Me? (1986), Buddy Bear (1991), Assault Survivor Kits® (1995), Sweet Dreams (2011), and It’s In The Bag.
  • Other programs: Hospital Craft Cart (1971–1986) and Kids on the Block (1987–2012).

Current Sources of Funding

  • Retail sales at our Bargain Box Thrift Store are a major source of Assistance League of Colorado Springs’ funding.
  • Charitable gifts, grants and the Give! Campaign provide funding for our programs.
  • The Fun Fair, a holiday boutique, is our annual fundraiser held in November.
  • Other fundraisers include the Wacky Tea.

Did You Know?

  • From 1973 to 2009, Assistance League of Colorado Springs presented the Silver Bell Award to community volunteers.
  • November 17, 1976 and March 19, 1998 were proclaimed “Assistance League Day” by Colorado Springs Mayors Ochs and Makepeace.
  • In 1996, Assistance League of Colorado Springs was chosen the “Outstanding Philanthropic Organization” for Colorado.
  • The Bargain Box Thrift Store won Gazette Newspaper’s “Best of the Springs” award for Best Philanthropic Business in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
  • In fiscal year 2019-20, the chapter’s 146 members provided 19,105 volunteer hours, valued at more than $520,000.