It’s a weekday morning and volunteers with Operation School Bell® (OSB) eagerly anticipate the arrival of their guests. As a yellow school bus pulls up, the volunteers gather to greet students coming in to receive new uniforms, shoes, coats and the personal items needed to attend school with confidence.
Since 1970, Assistance League® Tulsa, an all-volunteer non-profit organization, has been helping meet essential needs of students in grades Pre-K to 12. Last year, the program served more than 25,000 students in 108 schools from 12 area school districts.
Tulsa Public School students must wear uniforms, but providing the appropriate clothing for growing children is often a hardship for families. Because of this, uniforms, shoes, coats and underwear can be barriers to education for many children. In 2018-19, OSB provided support to approximately 56% of Tulsa Public Schools students.
Participants in OSB are identified by school counselors and teachers. Selected students are transported to the Assistance League building for a personal shopping experience. They receive a full school wardrobe of new items. TPS middle school, junior high and high school students receive needed items through OSB’s school-site clothes closets.
The program is financed by the fundraising efforts of AL Tulsa’s 283 volunteers. OSB’s largest income stream is from Bargains Thrift Shop, which is open for business five days a week and run by volunteers. Bargains sells gently used items donated to AL Tulsa. Learn more at altulsa.org.