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 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.
Their smiles warm our hearts!
This year Assistance League of Greater Wilmington delivered clothes closets to area schools and will fill them with clothes and hygiene kits for students in need all year.
Each Closet Includes:
- hooded sweatshirts
- hygiene kits
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
Two Tons of Healthy Snacks
We provide healthy snacks and box drinks in a zip lock bag for assorted after school programs. At each of our meetings we pack 400 bags and NourishNC distributes them to hungry children. Due to the Covid-19 restrictions, we donated $2,000 to NourishNC to provide summer packs.