Helping one child at a time
Operation School Bell® helps meet the needs of children in New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties.
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.
Assistance League of Greater Wilmington continues to add requested items to school closets.