Assistance League of Sierra Foothills is seeking donations and partners for a program called Operation School Bell, which provides new, warm and appropriate school clothing to children in need throughout El Dorado County.
Organizers collaborate with the El Dorado County Office of Education to identify the schools with the greatest need. The schools select the children to participate in the program based on need and/or family hardship with the input of teachers, counselors, principals and the school homeless liaison.
This program is for children ages 5-17 who in need or homeless schoolchildren in El Dorado County. It has been focusing on the homeless population, which accounts for about 600 people in the county. The total population of children qualifying for federal assistance in El Dorado County school system is about 9,700, or 33 percent of the entire county’s school enrollment, according to a press release.
Operation School Bell allocates up to $100 per child toward the purchase of new school clothing and works with the local Kmart to organize a series of shopping days for children and their parent/guardian. The next round of shopping days will take place in spring. South Lake Tahoe schools have the highest percent of total students receiving federal assistance. Of all the school districts the program supports, the highest attendance for its events comes from South Lake Tahoe.
Organizers believe that by giving these children new, warm and appropriate school clothing that it gives them a better chance of being accepted and developing a strong sense of self-esteem, encourages them to attend and stay in school and improves illiteracy.
For information or to make a donation, visit www.sierrafoothills.assistanceleague.org.