Dressing Children in Need
in Columbia Public Schools

Operation School Bell® provides new winter clothing and coats to children in pre-school through fifth grade in the Columbia Public Schools.The goal is to increase the self-esteem of the child and encourage regular school attendance. School personnel identify and refer children to this program. Since the program’s inception in 1997, tens of thousands of children have been served. Operation School Bell is currently the largest philanthropic program provided by Assistance League of Mid-Missouri.

Each child receives:

• two pairs of jeans, leggings, or pants
• a winter coat
• mittens or gloves
• a sweatshirt
• three shirts
•a package of underwear
• a package of socks
• a care kit containing personal hygiene items

During the 2020-21 school year, COVID 19 caused us to have to be even more creative in serving the needs of our community. Since most schools became virtual rather than in-person, we had to modify the Operation School Bell experience. The children were not able to come to our facility to select their clothing, so we established a “pack and deliver” system based on sizes and preferences provided by parents. Also due to the pandemic, our revenues, and thus our budget, were reduced, and many supplies became unavailable. However, we were still able to clothe and provide hygiene kits for 1,460 school children, at a cost of $99,577.91. The response from school personnel and parents was very positive and appreciative.

Listen to a KFRU interview about Operation School Bell