Once again the angels of Assistance League of Palm Springs Desert Area have provided school clothes to Desert Sands Unified School District students.
Titled Operation School Bell, clothing packages for more than 500 students are currently being distributed to nine schools.
Distribution began on Oct. 16 following a team of Assistance League volunteers spending the day before packaging the clothing. Distribution will continue over the next week.
School personnel identified children with the greatest needs and Assistance League provides them with three polo shirts, two pairs of shorts or skorts, as well as underwear and socks. The items correspond to school requirements for school colors. The organization also donated grade-appropriate books to the students.
The completely volunteer organization relies on their members and community donations for this and their other school-support projects. They began serving the community in 1973 and began Operation School Bell in 1991. The signature program of the national organization, Operation School Bell and the clothing donation help to improve the self-image and confidence of the students.
In addition to the distribution of school clothing to elementary school students, Assistance League began a new campaign in 2014 to provide 4th and 5th grade students with hygiene kits that include a toothbrush, toothpaste, toothbrush case, dental floss, washcloth, soap, comb, brush, body wash/shampoo, deodorant, lotion , and other personal items.
The program became available to DSUSD in March 2015 and continues in the spring of each school year.
The local chapter also provides educational tools for students through its Read and Discover Program, companionship for seniors through its Senior Services Program, assistance to military families at Twentynine Palms military base, and scholarships to students in the performing or visual arts.
As this year’s school clothing distribution comes to end, volunteers are already planning for the next school year’s program.