by Karen Helen Szatkowski
Ventura’s Assistance League’s Bargain Box thrift store that supports many programs benefiting Ventura County’s children will be moving into the Goodwill and old post office building at 3351 Telegraph Rd. Their last day on Main Street will be in late July and opening at the new store is estimated for early to mid-August. The building will be able to support many more collections and vintage items for sale. Volunteers are abuzz brainstorming on how to best use the increased space.
The Assistance League’s Ventura chapter was founded in 1950, fifty years following the Los Angeles philanthropic organization’s beginning. The unique mission of our Ventura chapter is that it provides funding to identify and assess the particular needs of children in Ventura County and has developed programs to fit precisely those needs.
Their six programs are:
Girls Club/Teen Club
Assistance League School
Operation School Bell®
Assault Survivor Kits®
Operation School Bell has received recognition and many thanks from school districts, children and parents in our county. It provides new school clothing to children in need from the Oxnard, Hueneme, Ventura and Ocean View Elementary School Districts. Initiated in 1993 by the League, the children receive a sweatshirt, six pairs of socks, underwear, tops and a gift card for pants, shorts, skirts and shoes as well as a personal hygiene kit, school supplies and a book. Since the program began over 20,000 kids have been able to go to school with new clothes that fit, maybe for the first time. Teachers and parents agree that the program increases students’ self-esteem and a sense of belonging with their peers–better academic performance almost always follows.
There are 400 active Assistance League member volunteers that are dedicated to the mission of the League for the, “enrichment of the lives of children in Ventura County and the betterment of their future” and because of their efforts 89% of all money raised through fundraising activities goes directly to supporting chapter programs. Over 30,000 children have received benefits from one or more of the programs since 1950.
There are several different options for membership in the League. Most members are active members and serve one shift (four hours) per month in the Bargain Box and one shift (four hours) in the program of their choice, attend monthly chapter meetings, serve on at least one committee, and have voting privileges. Dues are $60 per year.
There is always another person out there in our communities that needs help, can assist in giving help or wants to donate for others to help. Anyone interested can check out the website at http://assistanceleagueventuracounty.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org or 643-245 for more information.
The details of the other programs can be found on their website.