Imagine not having the clothes to dress appropriately for an ordinary school day—not a great picture. Now, imagine what a gift it would be to shop for and purchase your very own new school clothing. That is what happens for almost 5,000 Montgomery County students each year because of the Operation School Bell® Program.

Operation School Bell is the signature program of National Assistance League®, as well as every chapter of Assistance League across the nation.  Through the collaborative efforts of our Assistance League chapter and local department and other stores, smiles become more prevalent for some Montgomery County students in Pre-K through high school who receive new clothes and other supplies through Operation School Bell.

A high percentage of the enrollment in Montgomery County schools is economically disadvantaged, and the families have inadequate resources to meet the needs of their children.  That’s when Operation School Bell takes over and holds shopping events at local stores for disadvantaged students who have been referred by Montgomery County school counselors.  This most rewarding experience brightens the day of not only the students receiving the clothes, but also the Assistance League members who assist with the shopping experience; and since the need for new clothes never goes away, school counselors may refer students for emergency assistance throughout the school year.

Besides providing new school clothes, books are donated to school libraries and classroom teachers’ libraries.  Also, in-school reading opportunities and literacy events are held throughout the school year.

Over 60,000 students have received new school clothing in the 30+ years Assistance League of Montgomery County has been involved in Operation School Bell.