Operation School Bell is the signature philanthropic program of Assistance League. Assistance League of Pomona Valley was approved in 1998-99 to implement this program and began serving children that school year.
Initially the program was implemented from a room in the Dental Center, and provided packages of three (3) sets of white tee shirts, underwear, and socks. Clients were 500 elementary students referred by school nurses and staff from the Family Resource Center in Pomona USD. We received paperwork for each child including the sizes needed and shopped specifically for those children.
The goal was to expand available items. Children wanted colored tee shirts and they needed sweatshirts. Some attended schools with uniform requirements. Even though parents had reported their children’s sizes, often they were incorrect or exchanges had to be made during the distribution days.
After the chapter’s thrift store (Bargain Basket) closed in 2005, Operation School Bell moved into the basement level of the chapter house. Our members wanted the children to have a “shopping experience” and we needed room to set up racks and shelving. During that year over 1000 children were served. In addition, each family was given a Hygiene Kit that contained shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste and brushes, soaps, detergents, sewing kits, etc., supplied by the Les Fleurs Auxiliary. Since 2006, we have served over 1200 children annually. Most of those children are from Pomona but we also have served families from Claremont, San Dimas, La Verne, Diamond Bar and Chino Hills.
Currently, there are five distributions during the school year. At each over 200 pre-approved children are served. Each girl receives six (6) sets of colorful socks and underwear while boys receive white socks and a mix of boxers and briefs. Each child selects five (5) colorful tops or tees and a hooded sweatshirt or jacket. In addition, boys receive 2 pair of jeans and girls receive 1 pair of jeans and 2 leggings. The family also receives a care package with much needed personal and household items. All clothing and items provided are new.
Additionally, we provide packages of clothing to the Family Resource Center and Tri-City Mental Health for use in emergencies. Often, Dental Center clients are in need of clothing so they “shop” after their treatments are completed.
Chapter members are working to increase funding from grants, events and donations to extend the range of clothing provided and significantly increase the number of children served.
ASSISTANCE LEAGUE OF POMONA VALLEY
OPERATION SCHOOL BELL DISTRIBUTION CENTER