Her shopping cart filled with sale items and holding a stack of coupons in her hand, she approached the price check table in Fred Meyer. Assistance League members were there with calculators ready to help students learn how to budget for a school wardrobe and provide the funds to do it.

Given a budget of $125, middle to high school students can compile a good assortment of tops, pants or skirts, shoes and socks. This young lady had selected a coordinated collection of garments in teal colors that she could mix and match. Her cart contained skirts, leggings, several tops, shoes, a scarf and a purse. She was excited to be shopping. Her mother had come, dressed in scrubs because she was on her way to work. “Thank you,” she told the Assistance League volunteers. “This is a true blessing. We can’t afford to buy new clothes. It has been so long since we’ve shopped that we didn’t even know what size she wears.”

Operation School Bell
Operation School Bell

When Assistance League volunteers added up her items, they noted that she was a little over the limit and suggested that she may need to put something back. Carefully studying the clothing, the teen took a deep breath and made her choice. The white handbag looked stylish with her new clothes but it just wasn’t in the budget. She put it back on the shelf.  Still, she was excited about school the next day as she headed to the register with her purchases.

At Assistance League, we believe that students need a good education to succeed. Unfortunately, economically disadvantaged teens are less likely to complete high school than their peers. According to “Issues of Poverty 2016” by Community Action, across all grade levels, students from low income families are more likely to be chronically absent and score lower on standardized tests than their peers. Assistance League’s Operation School Bell program helps students stay in school and succeed by providing the school clothes that they need.

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