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. The chapter started this program in 1988 when 33 children were provided with new clothing for school.  Today all six Montgomery County school districts are served and over 4,000 children receive new clothing each year.

Many families in Montgomery County schools are  economically disadvantaged and 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 the 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.