PHOENIX — The Assistance League of Phoenix is ready to roll out Operation School Bell. The program has been providing K-8th grade students, living in poverty, with brand new school clothing, shoes, and other essentials for 35 years. Operation School Bell is a mobile program, taking their Delivering Dreams Buses to schools from August through April.
Due to the pandemic, the program shifted, noticing a need for leisure clothes as kids learned virtually. Now, they offer both school uniforms and non-uniformed clothes to help fill the need.
The Delivering Dreams Buses include dressing rooms, a shoe station, and shelves stocked with shoes. When on-site, school personnel and/or trained volunteers work with each student one-on-one. Aimee Runyon, CEO of Assistance League of Phoenix, says the goal is to give students as many choices as they can to have a shopping-like experience with the ability to select their items and try them on.
Runyon says one of the biggest needs they see is for shoes, with students sometimes wearing shoes several sizes too small for them. A new pair of shoes costs about $10, and to fully dress a child costs around $80.
Every student receives a package that includes: two bottoms, three polo shirts, one belt, one sweatshirt, one pair of shoes, six pairs of socks, six underwear, (bras when needed) a brand new book, and a health kit. The health kits include; a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, a brush/comb, bar soap, deodorant, and a face mask.
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