The Assistance League of Birmingham expands to Shelby County
By CLARKE STACKHOUSE / Staff Writer
MONTEVALLO—The Assistance League of Birmingham will expand outreach to Montevallo Elementary School this fall with Operation: School Bell.
ALB president-elect, Jan Service, said the league plans to help 40 students from the school.
Operation: School Bell provides children in need with clothing, hygiene supplies and a book. Each child is given a duffel bag filled with two pairs of jeans, three shirts, a hoodie, socks, underwear, hygiene products and a new book, chosen by the child, Service said.
“The kids are allowed to choose clothes they are interested in,” Service said. “Which is a rare opportunity for some of the kids.”
ALB officials met with the school administration to set up a contract for Operation: School Bell, Service said.
The program works with school counselors to determine children with the most need.
“It’s the school’s judgment call,” Service said. “They know the children’s needs better than anyone.”
The bags are pre-packed and ready for pickup in the fall at the ALB headquarters in Homewood, Service said. The kids try on the clothes to make sure they fit properly and choose a new book to take home with them.
“It’s a special day for us and the kids,” Service said. “We give lots of hugs too.”
The volunteer base for the ALB is mainly made up of retired schoolteachers, Service said. The program is a positive experience for the children as well as the ALB.
“It’s chaos, but it’s a well-organized positive and fun chaos,” Service said.
ALB focuses on schools in the Birmingham and Jefferson County area, but is making plans to continue expansion in Shelby County.
“This is our first entrance into Shelby County, but we hope to serve more schools in the county next year,” Service said.
For more information on the ALB and Operation: School Bell visit Assistanceleaguebham.org.