Thanks to a $10,000 grant from APS, more than 150 students will start school this fall with confidence and the knowledge that people care about their education and their future.
This grant to Assistance League of Phoenix (ALP) will support the organization’s Operation School Bell program, which has been providing new school clothing to Phoenix area children in need for over 30 years.
Stephanie Chastain, board chair and interim executive director of ALP, says Operation School Bell serves the neediest of Title 1 schools, with participating schools having at least 86 percent of their students on the free or reduced school lunch program.
Each partner school may select up to 100 students to participate in the program. The students receive the brand-new clothing in a shopping format at the ALP Philanthropic Center, or on the mobile dressing center, dubbed the Delivering Dreams Bus. Both spaces are set up with racks and shelves of clothing, mirrors and dressing rooms.
The students are matched with a caring adult volunteer who walks through the aisles with them and takes measurements to ensure proper fits.
“Kids often come to us with shoes held together with duct tape, and it’s not uncommon to see their toes curled under from wearing shoes that are too small,” says Chastain.
Each child is provided with a school uniform kit including three polos, two bottoms (pants, shorts or skorts), shoes, socks, underwear, a sweatshirt, a belt, a hygiene kit and a new book of their choice.
The Operation School Bus program is made possible largely through grant funding from organizations like the APS Foundation. To learn more about donating time or money to the Assistance League of Phoenix, visit www.alphxaz.org.