Transforming Lives • Strengthening Community


Assistance League volunteers transforming the lives of children and adults through community programs.


Essential needs are met in our community, and families flourish.




to Our Community


People Impacted

in Our Community


 Hours Volunteered



‘Virtual Mistletoe Marketplace’ Livestream Event raises over $80,000!

ROCHESTER, Michigan – The 17th annual signature fundraising event for Assistance League of Southeastern Michigan® known as Mistletoe Marketplace was literally a virtual success, held online for the first time ever raising more than $80,000.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 has been a year unlike any other in recent history. Like many other nonprofit organizations, Assistance League adjusted plans for their previous annual indoor event, which draws nearly 800 people each year.

Held on Thursday, Nov. 19, the online event also featured a half-hour, live-streamed program highlighting Assistance League’s established philanthropic programs, such as Operation School Bell for schoolchildren, Wee Help for infants, Assault Survivor Kits for victims of abuse, Nourishing Neighbors for people with food insecurity and how their efforts benefit the metro-Detroit community.

A video of the program is available on Facebook, YouTube and other social media platforms.

“Our dedicated and creative members worked very hard to turn our traditional Mistletoe into a different, fun, successful online auction with a streamed event highlighting our programs,” said Ann Drake, president of Assistance League.

“It was wonderfully successful – raising over $80,000 to support our programs serving people in Michigan,” Drake added.

As with previous in-person Mistletoe Marketplace events, all the familiar fun of bidding and prizes awaited those who had registered on the Silent Auction website.

Event registration began Nov. 1, along with a sneak preview of 200 auction items. Online bidding began Nov. 14 and continued for five days through the closing of the event at 8:30 p.m.

We couldn't do it without YOU!


Thanks to you we are able to weather the Covid-19 storm and provide for those in need.  You have made all of this possible with your generosity.  This is our story and yours of responding to the current acute needs in our community.

What we did with your donations

Our Operation School Bell (OSB) program this fall was a whole new program as we pivoted in response to the schools being closed.  Duffle bags were filled with warm winter coats, hats, gloves, hygiene kits, underwear, socks, tops and books.  It was then time to deliver the duffle bags to various schools in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.

Under OSB another six hundred and fifty children’s coats were given to  Cass Community Social Services in Detroit.  One hundred winter coats and hygiene kits went to Lighthouse in Pontiac.  Additional clothing items were delivered to Children’s Center in Detroit and Neighborhood House  Clothes Closet in Rochester.

Our Assault Survivor Kits are sent out to trauma centers so that children and adult survivors of abuse, sexual assault and domestic violence would have clean clothes and toiletries.  The kits are a necessity in the event that their clothes are destroyed by the perpetrator or retained as evidence.

Our Nourishing Neighbors program continues to respond to the tremendous increase in food insufficiency in our community.  We collaborate with Neighborhood House Food Pantry, which serves a 100 mile radius, thus providing families with nutritious food.  Food is required  to stave off the harmful affects of not having enough to eat .  In addition, we donate, on a weekly basis,  meal kits that  help to brighten up a mealtime.  The kits are prepared and assembled by our volunteers.

Our Wee Help program delivers layette kits and a portable crib/bassinet sleep package to centers who in turn pass these items on to  less fortunate new mothers and their infants.  Our volunteers knit baby hats, order  and assemble the kits and packages to be given to the people who distribute them.  Our aim is Happy moms make for happy and safer babies.

These are but a few of our programs that are made possible through your donations.  As the Covid-19 pandemic continues, the need expands exponentially.  Please, we ask for your continuing help so that we can address these profoundly urgent and desperate needs in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.

A great big THANK YOU to all of our sponsors, donors and volunteers.  It takes a village. 

100 Women Who Care Rochester Awards Assistance League® of Southeastern Michigan quarterly award for their Assault Survivor Program

   At the August 2020 Rochester 100 Women Who Care meeting, longtime member Judy McWhirter was selected to make a presentation for Assistance League of Southeastern Michigan.
   She decided to present on behalf of our Assault Survivor Kits® program. We were chosen from the three presentations given that day to receive the quarterly award. The amount should be about $22,000.
   Thank you, Judy! And congratulations to our chapter Assault Survivor Kits program.

August Blast Off 2 School event is a huge success

     ROCHESTER – The Blast Off 2 School event held Aug. 15 brought more than some much-needed smiles to 360 local K-12 students.  Each child received a red bag with their own personal choice of clothing by size and color, along with school supplies and other items.
     Held at First Congregational United Church of Christ in Roch. Hills, the event was the result of a collaboration of Assistance League® of Southeastern Michigan, the Rochester Area Neighborhood House and Ascension Providence Rochester Hospital.
     Parishioners from St. Paul Methodist Church made 715 face masks for the event.  The Rochester High School boys tennis team assisted with stocking and loading of inventory for the event.
     Assistance League provided a bag containing a new hoodie, socks, underwear, a long-sleeved T-shirt, a grade appropriate book, a mask and a hygiene kit.  Ascension Providence Rochester did school physicals.  Neighborhood House provided a wide array of school supplies.
     “It was such a well-organized event,” Assistance League President Ann Drake said in a statement.  “As each car pulled into the lot, the parent and student stayed in their vehicle, and our volunteers handed out the red bags.  What a wonderful day.”
     The event was free for Neighborhood House clients and low-income families who live in Auburn Hills, Rochester, Rochester Hills, Oakland Township, Leonard and Lakeville.

Yes you Can and WE DID!

     Creativity abounds within Assistance League® and a group of hard-working women developed a totally new fundraiser for our organization.
     Under the leadership of Tiffani Wolf, Pat Quitter and Judy McWhirter, a Can/Bottle Drive was initiated May 26-27. People drove to our warehouse to drop off their returnables. The line of cars was constant from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The following day, members went to neighbors and picked up returnables to bring to the collection point. Thousands of cans and bottles were collected.
     The challenge then became where to store them until they could be turned in for cash. Two large storage units were rented, and totally filled. With the help of members and husbands, the returnables were transferred to the storage units.
Later, they had to be sorted into large plastic bags and boxes.
     Powers Distributing came to the rescue when they said the returnables could later be brought to their facility in Lake Orion. A final count had to be made before everything went to Powers. Each glass bottle was counted and put into some type of box. The cans had to be separated and put into huge plastic bags. The plastic bottles had to be separated by size and put into the plastic bags.
     The group of women and several husbands worked in the heat to count, load and transport the bottles to Powers. Once we arrived, the trucks had to be unloaded. After three truckloads were delivered, we made just over $7,000. It turned out to be more work than anticipated, but our dedicated members and their husbands made sure that everything was completed, and now that money can be used to support our programs.
     Thanks goes out to all of the members and husbands who did such a great job during this creative yet difficult fundraiser.

'ONWARD' A very successful event for Assistance League® of Southeastern Michigan

Our Disney-Pixar pre-released screening of “ONWARD” on Sunday, March 1, was a big success. This heartwarming, animated film was directed and co-written by Betty Zych’s son, Dan Scanlon.  We are so grateful for Dan and his team at Pixar and Disney for helping us host this fabulous movie screening event. It was a very special day celebrating Betty and Dan’s love of family.

Our event was a complete success selling out both Emagine Rochester theaters with 310 guests.  Our Silent Auction netted over $3,100 with the generous donations of movie memorabilia from PIXAR.

To top the day off, Dan presented us with an amazing gift from PIXAR of $10,000! The co-founder and chairman of Emagine Entertainment, Paul Glantz, presented us with his donation of $1,000 for our organization.

Finally, our talented chapter member, Tiffani Wolf, created a fabulous array of delicious desserts incorporating the characters of the movie into her food presentation.  We want to thank our committee who helped organize this wonderful event and our membership for supporting this celebration of Betty and her two sons, Dan and Bill.

“ONWARD” opened to the public on March 6 and topped the box office sales earning $40 million! It currently remains in first place for moviegoers.

Sani Dwyer and Rosemary Dirksen

Assistance League raises $110K to help local residents in need

January 21, 2020

Nearly $110,000 was raised at Assistance League of Southeastern Michigan’s 16th Annual Mistletoe Marketplace Fundraiser.

These donations will cover more than one-fourth of the organization’s annual funds needed to support programs that clothe, feed, educate and comfort Oakland, Macomb and Wayne County residents in need.

More than 730 guests attended the luncheon and strolling fashion show. Honorary Chairperson Monica Gayle of FOX 2 shared her personal experience of helping students choose clothing at Operation School Bell, one of Assistance League’s signature programs.

Rosa Glover-Adams, principal of Barton Elementary School in Detroit, was the keynote speaker at the event. She talked about how the Operation School Bell program brought growth in her students’ self-confidence as they selected their own new school clothing.

Assistance League President Cindy Guerrieri said that volunteers help make dreams come true while “transforming the lives of children and adults and strengthening communities.”

For more information, visit Assistance League ReSale Connection at 204 S. Main St., Rochester, call 248-656-0414 or visit

Joanne Brown

Einstein Elementary students benefit from Assistance League

OAK PARK, Michigan – Just in time before the cold weather arrives, students at Albert Einstein Elementary School of Oak Park received some very special gifts Assistance League® of Southeastern Michigan.

One of the largest community programs sponsored by our organization is called Operation School Bell®, providing students in need of school clothing and necessities. Each year individual schools are chosen in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties to receive a large distribution of items for their students which are delivered and displayed at the schools by Assistance League volunteers.

The Einstein students had a chance to “shop” in their own school gym for all-new basic essentials that are needed for a successful school year: a warm coat, pants, shirts, underwear, socks, gloves, hat, toiletries, a book and a duffle bag to hold their gifts.

The teachers brought their students to the gym on a class-by-class basis. Then, Assistance League members, aided by community volunteers including Oak Park Mayor Marian McClellan, GM Accounting, GM Tank Command, Miller Vein and FOX 2 Meteorologist Lori Pinson, escorted the children to each “station” to assist in the selection of sizes and colors of their new clothes.

Assistance League’s Operation School Bell has been the sponsor of this program for 25 years.  This fall, more than 4,000 students will be provided clothing and necessities in 13 metro-Detroit-area schools.

Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation gives grant to Assistance League

PONTIAC, Michigan (10/29/19) – Thanks in part to a $10,000 grant from the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation, Assistance League of Southeastern Michigan outfitted all 316 students from Will Roger’s Elementary School.

The program, known as Operation School Bell, sets up a makeshift store in the school gymnasium, where students can “shop” for new winter coats, hats, gloves, underwear, socks, pants, shirts, hygiene kits and a book with their name in it.

Each child received a large duffle bag to hold their new items and were escorted around the store by adult volunteers, who helped them make selections.

Operation School Bell distributions occur each fall at metro-Detroit-area schools in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.

“We thank the IICF for their generosity, which will help more children at risk in southeastern Michigan’s tri-counties stay warm this winter,” said President Cindy Guerrieri, who heads the Assistance League of Southeastern Michigan.

The IICF is a nonprofit group that helps communities and enriches lives by uniting the collective strengths of the insurance industry in providing grants, volunteer service and leadership. Established in 1994, the IICF has served as the philanthropic foundation of the insurance industry for more than 25 years.

The IICF is composed of five divisions: Midwest, Northeast, Southwest, West and the United Kingdom. With nine chapters, they award grants to nonprofits and charities in a wide range of areas, including:

  • Children at risk.
  • Health and human services.
  • Military veterans.
  • Social mobility.
  • The environment.
  • Disaster preparedness and relief.

Through the 20-plus leadership boards in the United States and United Kingdom, the IICF has awarded $31 million in community grants and contributed 300,000 hours of volunteer service. More than 110,000 industry volunteers have given back to those in need.

Bordine’s of Rochester hosted Nov. 6 Holiday Extravaganza to benefit Assistance League

ROCHESTER, Michigan (11/06/19) – Bordine’s of Rochester hosted their Holiday Extravaganza on Nov. 6.

About 500 happy shoppers attended the event with great opportunities to sample food and drinks from local restaurants and to see the latest in Christmas season decorations. Great prices, great friends, and even a surprise visit by Elvis! A great time was had by all.

Assistance League of Southeastern Michigan benefited from a fabulous donation from Bordine’s of $5,000 — and more than $1,300 from a 50/50 raffle at the event to help fund our Philanthropic Programs.


Assistance League® awarded grant from Young Woman’s Home Association

The Young Woman’s Home Association (YWHA), again this year, has awarded grant funds to Assistance League of Southeastern Michigan. The $8,000 grant will help support their signature program, Operation School Bell®, providing new school clothing and basic necessities for students.

“We are so grateful to YWHA for their generous support of our program. Most recently, these funds enabled us to help 82 middle school students in Wayne County shop for new school clothes at a local store,” said Assistance League President Nancy Troyer.

The grant will also help support Operation School Bell at elementary schools where students select their own new winter coat, hat, gloves, pants, tops, underwear, socks, hygiene kit, book and duffle bag.  One of the fourth graders, who lived in a shelter, was determined and successful in finding a book called JUNIE B. JONES because, “It makes you laugh before you go to sleep.”  This is what hope looks like for many children.

In the 2018-19 fiscal year, more than 6,000 students benefited from Assistance League’s Operation School Bell program, helping to increase self-esteem and improve school attendance.

For more than 140 years, the YWHA has contributed to the successful development and enrichment of the lives of women and children. YWHA provides grants to nonprofit agencies serving women and children primarily in Wayne County, Michigan, through education, provision of basic needs and cultural enrichment programs.


Assistance League® helping Alternative for Girls transform community

DETROIT, Michigan – Assistance League of Southeastern Michigan members recently made a visit to Alternatives for Girls center in Detroit. Once again, Assistance League’s Operation School Bell program has supported AFG’s shelter and outreach centers by providing bedding, towels, clothing, cookware and books from Assistance League’s Book Drive.

The Southeastern Michigan chapter donations help to reinforce AFG’s goals of helping homeless and high-risk girls and young women make positive life choices.

Throughout the past year, Assistance League members have purchased and delivered these much-needed necessities to AFG, hoping to help the young women realize their potential and assuring them that someone cares.

During the 2018-19 school year, Operation School Bell serviced over 6,100 students and young adults with clothing and/or necessities.