Assistance League, founded in California, is the first nonprofit, nonpolitical, nonsectarian organization to recognize the potential of volunteers helping those less fortunate to a better, more meaningful life. The first chapter began in Los Angeles in 1919. As the area grew, more chapters were formed. To support the growing number of chapters, National Assistance League was organized in 1936 and incorporated in 1949.
From this modest beginning, Assistance League has grown to 119 chapters with over 23,000 members throughout the United States.
Assistance League of Fresno administers programs of philanthropic work within Fresno County. Since its affiliation as a guild of National Assistance League in May of 1988, the organization has grown to sponsor seven programs. The first program of the guild was Operation Bear Hug, established in 1988. This program is designed to provide certified-safe toy bears to the Fresno/Clovis Police and Sheriff’s Departments and other agencies for distribution to those who have suffered trauma.
In 1989, Teen Club was organized. In conjunction with our chartering on March 17, 1994, Teen Club became recognized as Assisteens®. This teen auxiliary is designed to help teens plan for a future in philanthropic work and fundraising activities, along with personal enhancement and college entry skills.
Our third program, Operation School Bell®, began in the fall of 1990 and is designed to provide needed clothing for children who might otherwise be unable to attend school. Our resale store formerly known as Bargain Boutique and now called AL Thrift Boutique was opened spring 2001 to provide revenue to support our programs. Presently we clothe over 3800 children per year. Operation Gift Box, our third program, began in 2005 and provides gift boxes to shut-in seniors.
In 2012, Dream Dress became our chapter’s fourth program. This program provides formal wear to girls that are homeless, in foster care or in need. The formal clothing is for school dances, graduation and special school related events. Busy Hands became our chapter’s fifth program in 2013. Local seniors make handcrafted items which are then donated to the Marjaree Mason Center and the Pregnancy Care Center. This program is unique in that it helps both those making and those receiving the handmade items.
Finally, Community Outreach provides help or goods for short term needs in our community.
Our chapter of Assistance League has truly grown, not just in size, but also in its impact on our community. Assistance League of Fresno is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. All donations are tax-deductible. Our Federal tax ID number is 77-0202024.