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A Uniform Experience
On Wednesday, August 15, volunteers from Assistance League of St. Louis met 60+ students at the organization’s headquarters in Ellisville. The elementary students bounded off the big yellow school bus that came from Barack Obama School in Normandy. Filled with a bit of apprehension but excited about what the morning held in store for them, these students understood they were there to get new school uniforms. As many of the students were guided to volunteers to be individually "fitted" for their new uniforms, others met with a volunteer to hear a story, do an art project, or play games.
Weather permitting, trained volunteers guided waiting students outside to learn about the ‘Giving Garden’ where bees, butterflies, or caterpillars were feeding off the plants and taking pollen back to pollinate other plants. Occasionally, for the lucky students, Mr. Turtle makes an appearance in the garden or Momma Deer & her doe watch from a distance!
When the student is finished with the fitting, each receives an Operation School Bell® ‘package’ of 24 new items which includes 2 pairs of pants, 3 shirts, a fleece jacket, 6 pairs of underwear, 6 pairs of socks, gloves, a hat, toothbrush, toothpaste, a belt or hair bow and a book of their choice. In addition, hygiene items are given to the school nurse to provide to students as needed.
About two hours after having bounded off the bus, smiling students with their packages of new clothes, visions of the actions of the Giving Garden or fun projects, and aspirations for a good school year, board the bus to go back to Normandy with an extra edge for success! As Operation School Bell’s Chairman, Diane Burkard and the many volunteers wave goodbye with a smile, they are already envisioning the fitting of children from 29 other schools that will be coming in the next few months!
Last year, Assistance League of St. Louis provided uniform ‘packages’ to 7,834 elementary school students from six school districts. This is just one of the many services that the organization of 500+ members with no paid staff provided last year touching 44,000 lives in the St. Louis area.
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