It seems lately that whenever we turn on the news, we hear about aid to needy families being reduced. Congress cuts the food stamp program; extended unemployment benefits are expiring; food pantries have to spread the same amount of food donations among an ever-increasing number of people. But the help that ALI gives families is one area that’s NOT being cut. In fact, the total amount we give needy families is going UP, not down.
Operation School Bell is ALI’s largest philanthropic program. Through OSB, we give school clothing and school supplies to students in need, in the Irvine school district. Each child receives a backpack, a set of notebooks and pencils, and a sum of money to purchase school clothing and shoes at Target in the Irvine Marketplace, our partner shopping store.
In 2012-13, we clothed 761 OSB kids. We’re currently in the final stages of our 2013-14 program, and we’ve clothed 816 kids to date, That’s an increase of 55 students – or 7% – and these aren’t the final numbers. And we’ve been able to do this WITHOUT lowering the amount of money we allocate for each child.
This is largely due to our generous thrift store shoppers! We are a completely volunteer organization with no paid staff, and ALL the money we raise from the thrift store goes to support OSB and our other programs in Irvine.
The fact that more families need to reach out to us for help in these tough times, is not a statistic to be proud of. But we ARE proud of the fact that we’re able – thanks to our generous thrift store shoppers – to meet this growing demand.