Assistance League, founded in California, is the first nonprofit, nonpolitical, nonsectarian organization to recognize the potential of volunteers helping those less fortunate to a better, more meaningful life. The first chapter began in Los Angeles in 1919. As the area grew, more chapters were formed. To support the growing number of chapters, National Assistance League was organized in 1936 and incorporated in 1949.
From this modest beginning, Assistance League has grown to 120 chapters with over 23,000 members throughout the United States.
Interest in forming Assistance League of San Antonio began in May 1983. After several coffees and organizational meetings, an invitational coffee was held to acquaint the community with the ideas and aims of Assistance League. On May 29, 1984, 193 volunteers became members of the organizing group that obtained status as Assistance Guild of San Antonio. The Guild was chartered as Assistance League of San Antonio on March 3, 1988, when it became the 76th chapter of Assistance League.
Since its charter, Assistance League of San Antonio member volunteers have consistently provided quality service to the San Antonio area. During the 2015-2016 year, 442 members contributed over 75,000 hours to serve nearly 72,000 children and adults in our community.
Attempting to meet previously underserved needs, Assistance League of San Antonio supports eight philanthropic programs. In 1984, “Watch Me Grow”, a booklet discussing the development growth of children from birth to age five, was written. In 2009, in partnership with the Kronkosky Foundation, the booklet was made available in English and Spanish. In 1985, “I’m In Charge”, a child safety program presented in elementary schools was started. In 1988, Assistance League of San Antonio implemented Togs For Tots, a program providing clothing for infants and preschoolers. In 1991, Assistance League of San Antonio adopted Operation School Bell<sup>®</sup>, a program that provides clothing for grade school children. In 1998, CAPS (Caps Art Promotes Smiles), a program in which members decorate caps for agencies serving chronically ill children, was organized.
Since the turn of this century, three more programs were instituted: Adopt A Resident, serving a senior population; College Scholarships, given to junior and senior students at four-year institutions; and Enhanced Learning Awards, providing supplemental teaching materials and experiences to elementary school-age children.
The Bexar Hugs Auxiliary, which became active in 1995, provides school boxes and school supplies for all Operation School Bell children. In 2014-15, through the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office of Victim Services and the Bexar County Justice Department, 736 children were provided stuffed bears through the Auxiliary’s ALamo Bears program. Through its ALamo Totes program, 164 children in shelters received duffel bags filled with personal care items and toys.