Operation School Bell® celebrates 25 years of providing clothes to underprivileged children

ALVC volunteers have provided new school clothing to children in need.

by Jessica Purdy

Assistance League® of Ventura County (ALVC) is proud to celebrate 25 years helping children in the Hueneme Elementary, Ocean View, Oxnard and Ventura Unified School Districts. Since 1993, through our signature philanthropic program called Operation School Bell® (OSB), ALVC volunteers have provided new school clothing to children in need, who have been referred to Operation School Bell by school personnel. Over the years we have been able to provide clothing, toiletries, school supplies, Target Gift Cards, Payless Gift Cards, and books to 25,194 students from approximately 40 schools.

Today, the need for school clothing is as great as ever as the number of impoverished children, whose parents struggle to provide them with basic necessities, continues to increase. As one principal shared in our annual program assessment, “These children often come to school less than fully clothed. Your services are invaluable in promoting the health, wellness and feeling of safety and caring for our students. Only when their primary needs are met, can they focus on the academics and social aspects of school life.”

Operation School Bell is our signature program and is managed entirely by volunteers. Normally we work out of portable classrooms which have been located at schools in two of the districts. This year, we continued having the students bussed to our site at Junipero Serra Elementary in Ventura, where they were greeted by an ALVC volunteer who helped them pick out the appropriate sizes for a polo shirt, t-shirt, sweatshirt, socks and underwear. They also received school supplies, a bag of toiletries, and a book. A $20 Target gift card to purchase pants, shorts, or a skirt and a $15 Payless card for shoes were given to the adult in charge for each child. Unfortunately, this year we lost our Oxnard site which served the Hueneme, Ocean View and Oxnard School Districts due to the increase in enrollment and the need for more classrooms.

We have about 40 members who are at the sites with the children, helping to transport the clothing and supplies to the sites, or preparing the paperwork necessary to keep everything moving smoothly. These volunteers donate the school supplies and along with Friends of the Camarillo Library, also donate the books. We are currently looking for another space to use in Oxnard so we can continue this program which helps so many children in need. If you know of any available space that would be appropriate for this program, please contact our office at 805-643-2458.

For more information about Assistance League of Ventura County, please contact us at 805-643-2458 or [email protected]. You can find us at www.assistanceleagueventuracounty.org as well as on Facebook and Instagram.

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