Assistance League of Klamath Basin, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, provides new clothing and other services to families throughout the Klamath Basin. Members are all volunteers (no paid staff) and we fully fund our $150,000 yearly philanthropic programs through donations, fundraisers, estate sales, and grants. The organization began in 1986 and we are part of the national organization, Assistance League, that has been existence for over 100 years. For more information on us see the Overview Slide Show below.
ALKB has three separate Philanthropic Programs, 1) Operation School Bell®; 2) Children in Foster Care; and 3) Project USA.
Operation School Bell® Program (OSB)
OSB: This is ALKB’s primary philanthropic program. Its purpose is to provide school supplies, new clothing, and literacy needs to K-12 children in need in 41 Klamath County and Klamath Falls City schools and other organizations including the Tulelake, California area (“Klamath Basin”).
How OSB Works:
Allotments: Each year, when the chapter is setting up its annual budget for the following year, a decision is made as to how many students the chapter can afford to clothe in the upcoming fiscal year and the amount needed for additional OSB expenditures. Allotments are set up by using the number of students enrolled in each school as well as the number of students that participated in previous years. Last year approximately 1,700 certificates were issued with $125 budgeted for each clothing certificate K-12.
Elementary Schools – $125 Certificates: OSB is divided into two sections: (A) Instore Shopping Event, and (B) a Clothing Certificate Program.
(A) Instore Shopping Event: This program is funded and coordinated by the ALKB. It has an agreement with the Klamath Falls Fred Meyer store. Elementary students from nine Klamath Basin schools come to this store on designated dates and times. It is important that each student be accompanied by a parent/guardian responsible for helping students select clothing and shoes. Elementary schools designated to participate in this program are: Ferguson – Henley – Peterson – Shasta – Stearns – Conger – Mills – Pelican – Roosevelt.
(B) Clothing Certificate Program: Clothing certificates, instructional packets and hygiene kits are sent to each designated Klamath Basin school K-12. The schools are responsible for deciding which students are to receive clothing certificates on an as-needed basis. When the school issues a certificate, the student is given 30 days to use it at the Fred Meyer store. This program starts in late September and usually ends mid-March. The following elementary schools are currently designated to receive clothing certificates: Bonanza – Chiloquin – Gearhart – Gilchrist – Keno – Malin – Merrill – Tulelake.
Middle and High Schools – $125 Certificates: Clothing certificates and instructional packets are sent to each designated school’s contact/coordinator. That individual decides which students receive clothing certificates on an as-needed basis. When a certificate is issued, the student is given 30 days to use it at the Fred Meyer store. This program starts in late September and usually ends the end of March.
All students K-12 participating in either the instore shopping events or the clothing certificate program receive hygiene kits, warm winter hats, and gloves.
Graduation Clothing Certificate Program – $125 Certificates: In April, an OSB coordinator contacts high school counselors requesting names of two to three students who are in need of financial assistance to purchase clothing for graduation. As part of the selection process, we request that these students have demonstrated an effort in being a good student and model citizen. This clothing can also be used when students are searching for a job.
Award Winning Books: Each year OSB provides the elementary schools with books that are awarded the Caldecott Award and Newbery Award. The middle and high schools receive books selected by the Young Readers’ Choice and Pacific Northwest Library Association. Several copies of each book are given to the Klamath County Libraries as well as to Klamath Advocacy Center aka Marta’s House. In addition, these books are displayed at ALKB’s Chapter House. OSB provides books for the Dolly Parton reading program.
Citizens for Safe Schools (CFSS): CFSS is a nonprofit organization with goals of creating safe and drug free communities and children of good character. School counselors refer students to CFSS when it is determined they are at risk and need help. They are placed one-to-one with a responsible adult mentor. Approximately 50 students participate in this program who continue to attend K-12 schools throughout the Klamath Basin. Schools are notified of the names of these students to make sure they receive OSB certificates.
Stearns Elementary “Active Shoes = Active Bodies”: In 2022-23, ALKB has been in contact with Stearns Elementary School to start up this program. It was placed on hold during the COVID Pandemic. This program is paid by ALKB, which has a contract with Big 5 Sporting Goods Store where the certificates are to be used.
McKinney Vento Homeless Student Program ( MVP): MVP is a federal program titled The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1987 focusing on students experiencing homelessness and poverty. Through this Program, ALKB has added approximately 450 K-12 homeless students to its OSB clothing certificate program. They are closely monitored by the MVP coordinators who in turn work closely with all city and county schools to make sure students receiving clothing certificates are not duplicated.
In addition to the clothing certificates, in February ALKB holds its “Share the Love Project” receiving donated items and monetary donations. Backpacks, socks, underwear, hoodies, heavy jackets, t-shirts, and hygiene items are purchased and given to the MVP coordinators to be distributed directly to these homeless students.
Geographic areas: ALKB’s geographic areas served include 41 schools and organizations in Klamath Falls, Chiloquin, Gilchrist, Bonanza, Malin, Merrill in Oregon, and Tulelake in Northern California. While working closely with Klamath Basin social workers, school counselors, principals, teachers, and administrators, ALKB makes a difference in the lives of those children who are in need. Participating schools and organizations are:
- Bonanza Elementary, Jr/Sr High Schools
- Brixner Jr High
- Chiloquin Elementary, Jr/Sr High
- Conger Elementary
- Eagle Ridge Charter
- Falcon Heights Academy
- Ferguson Elementary
- Gearhart Elementary
- Gilchrist Elementary, Jr/Sr High
- Henley Elementary, Jr/Sr High
- Keno Elementary
- Klamath Basin Behavioral Health – K-6 & 7-12
- Klamath Falls Home Learning Center
- Klamath Falls Institute of Learning
- Klamath Union
- Lost River Jr/Sr High
- Mazama High
- McKinney-Vento – K-6 & 7-12
- Merrill Elementary
- Malin Elementary
- Mills Elementary
- Pelican Elementary
- Peterson Elementary
- Ponderosa Elementary
- Roosevelt Elementary
- Shasta Elementary
- Stearns Elementary
- Tulelake Elementary, Jr/Sr High
ALKB is working with its school liaisons to add additional schools and organizations.
Children in Foster Care (CFC)
ALKB’s newest program titled “Children in Foster Care” entails working with local officials from Child Welfare, State Department of Human Services (DHS). CFC is programmed to be active all year (June 1 to May 31) and is separate from ALKB’s Operation School Bell program. It involves children from infancy to 18 years of age who have been removed from unsafe environments and placed into foster care.
Clothing certificates valued at $135 each are given to DHS to distribute to children on an as-needed-basis. Our chapter has supplied back packs, gym bags, hygiene items, socks, underwear, clothing, blankets, warm hats, stuffed toys, and school supplies throughout the year.
DHS has a team of people who works with foster parents and foster children delivering these items to the foster families. The staff at DHS has expressed its appreciation of ALKB, which helps all these children in an expedient manner.
ALKB started this program in 1993 and is the only Assistance League chapter conducting this project. It involves painting large USA maps on city and county elementary school playgrounds. These maps are used for educational purposes. Children love using them and play games finding specific states.
ALKB furnishes the map stencil, paint, brushes and rollers, and coordinates the program with the schools as well as helping recruit painters. It uses a special outdoor paint donated by local businesses. The stencil is approximately 38’ X 24’ and consists of two stencils, each weighing approximately 70 pounds.
Note: ALKB’s philanthropic programs are fully funded and managed by the ALKB. Its members volunteer their time during fundraising events, working the Findables store, and during OSB events. All chapter members are volunteers. There is no paid staff.
“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.”
“Your program, Operation School Bell, is such a blessing to myself for my kids to have proper beautiful clothes is so appreciated.”
These are the types of letters we receive throughout the year from children, and parents.