Assistance League: Thanks to Season of Sharing 2022, Portland-area kids get help with school clothes

Assistance League: Thanks to Season of Sharing 2022, Portland-area kids get help with school clothes

As any serious student of human beings knows, what matters most is what’s inside.

But sometimes, something nice to wear on the outside can make a big difference on the inside, too.

over 160 volunteers in Aid League of Greater Portland Know this very well.

Last school year, the charity’s Operation School Bell program gave clothing vouchers to nearly 3,000 students in the Beaverton and Hillsboro school districts, as well as $15,000 in new clothing for students in the Portland Public School District.

The charity founded in 1961 is one of the beneficiaries of The Oregonian/OregonLive’s 2022 Season of Sharing holiday fundraising campaign.

“He has made a difference in the lives of the students,” said Audra Scott of the Beaverton School District. “There are many ways this program helps students.”

The local charity became an Aid League chapter – one of 120 nationally – in 1965 and now operates on a budget of over $720,000, much of it raised from the sale of used items at its Beaverton Thrift and Consignment Shop, Which includes from clothes to shiny jewelry. and furniture and household items.

> Donate Aid League of Greater Portland either Season of Sharing General Fund

People can drop off adult clothing and household items on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the store is open Thursdays and Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m.

Donations from individuals and corporate sponsors and foundations and government grants also play an important role.

And not a single penny is paid to anyone who works for the organization.

The work is carried out entirely by volunteers, including one, Gwen Wildfong, now 96, who was there when the charity was formed. They take donations, they assess their value, they display them at the store (there are three areas – clothing and jewelry, home goods and furniture and a consignment department that often features high-end items). They also gather to fill out vouchers for new clothes.

As to what motivates her, chapter president Mary Johnson explained, “My mom raised me to do the right thing and I’ve always volunteered.”

And Michelle Vitala, the leader of Operation School Bell, said she had been motivated her whole life by “a huge responsibility to give back”.

Wiitala was instrumental in the charity switching from buying clothes for students in 2020, to issuing vouchers, so that students (and parents) could choose the clothes themselves.

“We were dealing with more and more students,” said Patty Funes, co-chair of Operation School Bell, “and we needed to make a change.”

Johnson said they knew for a while that it was time to stop buying all the clothes for the kids.

“Sometimes we have one size too many and the other not enough,” she said. “We needed more flexibility.”

And so, after Vitala headed to the Assistance League and worked on the issue with partners like Scott of the Beaverton School District, the voucher system was born.

It wasn’t about adjusting to COVID-19, but “when it hit,” Johnson said, “we were ready.”

Now, the Greater Portland nonprofit regularly hears from other chapters on how to implement a similar program.

In Beaverton, approximately 1,100 children in elementary schools received $125 vouchers (to be used at Fred Meyer) and 684 middle and high school students were given $150 vouchers.

Hillsborough had 727 elementary school students and 462 older children.

“It lets the kids spend the money on school clothes the way they want,” Vitala explained, adding that what happens with the donation vouchers is receiving copies of sales receipts and making sure that Spot checks that the money is being spent properly.

School districts identify students who would benefit from the program with a major factor being homelessness.

“Last spring, we had 1,370 students identified as homeless,” said Beaverton’s Scott. “Some of these kids never picked out things for themselves or had new clothes.

“You should have seen the look on their faces.”

Scott has been the district liaison for the local Assistance League for seven years and is so impressed with what he does that he said, “When I retire, I’m coming here.”

According to the charity’s vice president of resource development, Jamie Marucha, there are now several ways for those wanting to help to do so.

“Of course, they can donate,” said Marucha. “Or they can come to shop, or volunteer, or bring items for consignment, or get involved. The community has been very generous with us.

what your donation can do

$50: Provides a new winter coat and hat to keep baby warm.

$100: Pays for basics like new shoes that fit, new socks and underwear, a pair of jeans and a shirt for school.

$150: A week’s worth of new clothes is enough to send a child off to school feeling confident and ready to learn.

#Assistance #League #Season #Sharing #Portlandarea #kids #school #clothes

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button
سيتات آورج 2022 سيتات آورج 2022