Since 1994, Operation School Bell has provided new, age-appropriate clothing to children from Title I schools in the Tucson area. If they are from schools that do not require uniforms, they are brought to our Philanthropic Programs Center to “shop” for their new clothes. If they are from schools that mandate uniforms, each child receives a voucher to buy required clothing. Funding for this program comes from revenues from our Thrift Shop and monetary donations and grants. School principals and representatives report that the new clothing contributes to the children’s dignity and sense of self-worth.
For a listing of schools and agencies served this year, please refer to our Annual Report.
School buses transport Children from Title 1 Tucson schools to our Philanthropic Programs Center, which contains a “store” in which the children can select new clothing. The participants are selected by their school representatives, who accompany them to our premises. When the children arrive, they are greeted by volunteers who work with them, one-on-one, to help them select new, age-appropriate clothing and a new book of their very own. Each student receives two pairs of shorts or jeans, a warm hoodie, three t-shirts, six pairs of underwear, six pairs of socks, and a gift card to shop for shoes that fit and that they really like. The new clothes are packed in a new backpack, along with a new book chosen by the child.
Many public schools in Tucson require their students to wear uniforms. Unfortunately, many families cannot afford to purchase the required uniforms. Operation School Bell is here to help! We partner with Burlington Stores in Tucson by giving students $75 vouchers that can be redeemed for uniforms, shoes, socks, and underwear at any Burlington store. Each child additionally receives a hoodie, a backpack, and a new book to keep.