Operation School Bell®

Making a Difference in the Lives of Children

Operation School Bell, our main philanthropic program, touches the lives of about 800 children from kindergarten through high school every year.

“Thank you sooo much for the Operation School Bell certificate for the clothing. My family is in a very difficult situation right now, and this is just what I have been praying for. I haven’t had new clothes in 2 years. This is such a beautiful and inspiring thing you do for the kids who have nothing. When my teacher called my name to receive this, my heart filled with joy. Now I won’t have to wear the 1 pair of jeans I own every day. You are a gold hearted person! May God bless you. Thank you for everything.”

“My mother is dead, my father is in jail and I am living with my sister. She doesn’t have any money to buy me clothes. Thank you.”

Active Shoes = Active Bodies




L to R:  Front Row 1: Alexander Nazareta, Aiden Raum, Madisin Felber
Row 2: Domonic Figueroa, Tristan Foltz-Warrior, Athena Duncan, Cheyanne McFarland, Lizabeth Henderson
Row 3:   Beth Clark, Principal; Linda Hartenberger, Assistance League; Brandon Powell, P.E. Teacher; Sheri Wilson, Assistance League; and Isaiah Bigby, Big 5 Sporting Goods Store.
Row 1 & 2 are student recipients of Active Shows = Active Bodies.

The Assistance League of Klamath Basin has added another segment to its Operation School Bell program involving Stearns Elementary School’s program entitled “Active Shoes = Active Bodies.”  It was established by Brandon Powell, Physical Education Teacher, to provide quality athletic shoes for its students with the goal of improving participation during physical education class and increasing the amount of physical activity students engage in daily as well as helping with their self-worth.  The teachers work with the students to write down attainable goals to “earn” a $40.00 shoe certificate.  The Assistance League raises money to pay for these certificates which are used at the Big 5 Sporting Goods Store who, in turn, makes sure these students get quality shoes at a low price. 

Award Winning Books Program

Each year, National Award Winning Books are purchased and distributed by our Chapter to all Klamath County Libraries as well as all elementary, middle and high school libraries in the Klamath Basin and Tulelake. They are also given to Marta’s House, and Falcon Heights. We will be adding Exodus House this year.

The Young Reader’s Choice Award is a set of three annual awards for books selected by vote of school children in the Pacific Northwest, and administered by the Pacific Northwest Library Association (PNLA). Since 2002, there have been three award categories (listed below). Assistance League purchases and donates the Intermediate and Senior Award Winning Books. These books are distributed in the fall.
— Junior Division: Grades 4-6
— Middle Division: Grades 7-9
— Senior Division: Grades 10-12

The Newbery Medal was named in honor of eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.

 The Caldecott Medal was named in honor of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.

 ALKB donates one each of Newbery and Caldecott to the grade school libraries, and county libraries in the Klamath Basin and Tulelake in the spring. A label which is placed in each book which says, “This Book is “Presented by Assistance League® of Klamath Basin, 1330 East Main Street, Klamath Falls, OR as Part of Its Program Operation School Bell®”



More About Operation School Bell

Operation School Bell is our main philanthropic program. This is a free, confidential clothing service for all K-12 elementary, junior high and high school children in need throughout the Klamath Basin. We have been working with schools in the area and providing clothing to children for 30 years. We cover 39 Klamath county and Klamath Falls city schools including schools in Chiloquin, Chemult, Gilchrist, Bonanza, Malin, Merrill, and Tulelake in Northern California and clothe about 800 children throughout the year. Our program runs from September to March at an average cost of $107,500 for the year.

Our Operation School Bell program is based upon the Assistance League national program model and has been adapted for our specific area’s needs. School personnel and Fred Meyer’s store work closely with us to make the experience a rewarding and educational. School personnel see the beneficial effect upon children with improved participation in school and greater self-confidence and comfort in the difficult peer environment of the school classroom and playground.

How Does It Work

We work closely with the school counselors and administrators who reply upon our ability to provide children with clothing within a framework of sensitivity, respect, and confidentiality.

Public school professionals identify children in need and obtain parental permission for the child to receive clothes. They contact our organization with specific names and we disburse the clothes through our in-store shopping nights or by vouchers. Each child receives approximately $110-125 to spend on school appropriate clothes such as pants, shirts, shoes, underwear, and socks. In addition, we supply the children with handmade hats and scarves, and a hygiene kits of soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, hair brush and comb. Adults who feel their children are eligible should contact their local school for information.

Who Do We Serve

We are servicing around 800 children throughout the school year. Most of the time, the selection criteria is based on the children who are eligible for the free lunch program, or have had trauma events (moved; sent to foster care or other relatives; their home destroyed by fire; or are homeless). Some children receive their clothes through four in-store shopping nights at the Klamath Falls Fred Meyer’s store at the start the school year in September or October. Assistance League volunteers organize the in-store shopping event with Fred Meyer employees. Others, mostly outlying schools, and the middle or high school students receive store certificates which they redeem at Fred Meyer’s within 30 days under supervision of Fred Meyer employees. High school seniors in need also receive help with graduation clothes.