Operation School Bell®

We believe that warm clothing improves grades.

Operation School Bell is a National Assistance League program which provides clothing and school supplies to qualified elementary students. The execution of the program is determined by each chapter.

Schools have communicated that the social and emotional impact of clothing is significant for an elementary student and is a vital enhancement to a school’s Social and Emotional Learning curriculum. Studies show that children who come to school inappropriately dressed are at a disadvantage; appropriate school clothing can improve school attendance and help classroom performance. By providing proper clothing and learning materials, Operation School Bell helps children arrive in the classroom better prepared to learn.

Each school year, Assistance League of Chicagoland West provides brand new winter coats, hats and gloves to elementary and middle schools in our local area. Working closely with the school’s social worker, the garments are delivered and fitted on the students in September and October. Annually, Operation School Bell provides more than 2,000 coats.

In 2014, Operation School Bell was modified to respond directly to the needs of middle school students, whose taste in clothing is more idiosyncratic. Assistance League Chicagoland West now works with Kohl's Department Stores and their employees to provide students with a store voucher that can be used for school appropriate clothing and shoes. Kohl's employees assist the students with making sensible choices, while utilizing the full value of the voucher.

As our signature philanthropy, approximately half of our annual philanthropy budget is dedicated to Operation School Bell.

 Operation School Bell Schools/School Districts Served

        DuPage County District 53 ♦ Maercker District 60 ♦ Darien District 61 ♦ Woodridge District 68 ♦ Community Consolidated District 180  
       Community Unit District 201  Hinsdale Community Consolidated District 181 ♦ West Chicago Elementary School District 33
 School District 45 DuPage County ♦ Elmhurst School District 205


 “…I would like to express our sincere gratitude to you and your organization for the generous donation of over two hundred winter coats to keep the students…warm this year. Your support for our children and our schools serves as a role model and an inspiration to all of us associated with the district.” Thomas Schneider, Superintendent CCSD #180

  “I received numerous messages from parents who greatly appreciated the care, support, and discretion shown in the planning and distribution of the winter coats…It is important to note that the coats from your agency were of very high quality. The coat recipients did not feel singled out or different…” Beth Willis, LCSW Holmes 

 “The families that benefit from this program, and the staff of District #61, are incredibly grateful for the Operation School Bell program and the many hardworking volunteers and generous donors that make this program possible year after year.” Megan Seagraves, Lace School Social Worker

“These…children represent some of our neediest and most at-risk students, especially during this difficult economic time. Without the support of your amazing program, many of these students would not have access to a warm, properly-fitting winter coat. This is such a simple necessity, but it is so very important.”  Mary Swenson, Mark Delay Social Worker