“Show me your new school clothes. You look great!” the school counselor exclaimed and seven year old Liam beamed. Yesterday, a delivery of brightly colored bags of new clothing had arrived at the elementary school. Each bag had been packed by Assistance League volunteers, taking care to note the size and favorite colors for each child.
Liam sported a red shirt with a car on the front. “I like this,” he said pointing at his shirt. “I bet you like your new winter jacket too,” the counselor added, “It will keep you warm outside at recess.” “Yes,” the little boy replied. “It keeps me warm at home at night too.” The counselor looked at the boy, confused and asked what he meant. “Sometimes my house gets cold and I can sleep in my new coat. It keeps me nice and warm.”
Its heart breaking to think of children going to bed cold at night. It reflects the sad truth that many families struggle to make ends meet. In Washington County, 18% of children live in poverty, according to a report published by Hillsboro based Community Action in 2016. Their families must choose between paying bills for rent, health care, heat, buying food and gas or a bus ticket to work. For these families, a new wardrobe for school is not an option. Their children may attend school in pants that they have outgrown, shirts with holes in them and sandals in the middle of winter. Assistance League’s Operation School Bell program helps by providing new clothing for school, so that children can focus on learning.
Since 1998, we have served the students in the Hillsboro Public School District by providing new clothing to children in need. At Assistance League, we believe that no child should wear poverty to school.