Helping one child at a time

Operation School Bell® helps meet the needs of children in New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties.


Here are the schools we serve.







Dressing Children in Need
In the Greater Wilmington Area Schools

This national philanthropic program was founded in 1958 with humble beginnings as a clothes closet in a Los Angeles schoolroom after Ruth Ann Montgomery, then a teacher, discovered that members of one family were alternating their days in school because they had to share clothes and there were not enough to go around.

Since then this National Signature program has served more than three million children in need.  Every one of the 120 Assistance League chapters nationwide has an Operation School Bell program.

Assistance League of Greater Wilmington provided area children with thousands of backpacks full of school clothing, underwear, hygiene kits and books from 2008 until 2019.   Beginning with the 2019-20 school year, a new pilot program was inaugurated to better meet the day-to-day needs of students in our Operation School Bell schools.

When school started in the fall of 2019, we delivered closets for 22 schools in Brunswick, New Hanover and Pender counties.  Our volunteer teams work throughout the year with the “wish lists” of the school counselors and social workers to fill and resupply the closets two or three times per year.  School counselors identify children who qualify for closet items based on established criteria.  They select the needed items from the Assistance League Closet for the child to take home.

For many children these are the first new clothes they have ever worn.  We are proud to celebrate our years of continuing services to the children in the Greater Wilmington communities.

Middle School Shopping Night at Target

Assistance League of Greater Wilmington continues to add requested items to school closets.

Each Closet May Include:

  • pants
  • leggings
  • shirts
  • hooded sweatshirts
  • underwear
  • socks
  • belts
  • hygiene kits
  • any special requests from individual schools

A young boy said,
“I’ll never forget this day for the rest of my life”

One school reported,
“Such a special program that our students truly enjoy! We value the kindness and thoughtfulness displayed to our students.”

Another school noted, “This is a magnificent program that really helps our students. They feel better about themselves in new, clean, well-fitting uniforms.”

A student told us,
“This is not my day to wear underwear and now I have my very own.”

Operation School Bell is more than just clothing

Snack Packs

We provide healthy snacks and box drinks in a zip lock bag for assorted after school programs.  At each of our meetings we pack 300+ bags and NourishNC distributes them to hungry children. Below our members are packing 1600 snack packs for our Summer Packing for NourishNC.

Kids and Nurses Assist Program

 Backpacks of health room supplies are delivered to school nurses in the schools served by Operation School Bell.

Stand Out And Read

Every spring we deliver a supply of books to each of our Operation School Bell schools that will give every third grader a choice of a book to read and keep.

Contact Us

Operation School Bell
or at the Thrift Shop
910 769-2345

Serving New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender Counties since 2008