On November 27, Assistance League of St. Louis held the official Grand Opening of Al's Closets at Adams Elementary School.  Assistance League has set up these unique, fully-equipped closets in 17 Saint Louis Public Schools to more quickly respond to needs and provide basic clothing to deserving schoolchildren. View the Fox 2 News Coverage.

Adams School Principal Felicia Miller and Roxie Randolph, President of Assistance League of St. Louis, were on hand to celebrate this milestone event and respond to questions from the media. 

In addition to Adams, Al's Closets are available in 18 more Saint Louis Public Elementary Schools: Ames, George Washington Carver, Dunbar, Ford, Froebel, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lexington, Meramec, Monroe, Oak Hill, Gilkey Pamoja at Cole, Shaw, Shenandoah, Woerner and Woodward.

This year, the new delivery model will enable Assistance League to serve more than 4,800 elementary school students with a more immediate, more responsive approach.  Annually, Assistance League touches the lives of more than 44,000 St. Louisans.  And for more than 30 years, this all-volunteer organization has listened to the needs of our community and developed new, better, and more efficient ways to help.

Each one of Al's Closets is filled with new school uniforms, jackets, coats, underwear, socks, hats, gloves and toiletry items.  Gently used books are included for students to select and keep.  Requests for new shoes are filled as needed and huggable, plush teddy bears and Assistance League's special activity kits are also included in the closets.

“Research shows that being clothed appropriately and staying warm mean a great deal to the ability of children to feel accepted and comfortable in school and to learn,” said Assistance League of St. Louis President Roxie Randolph. “Our hope is that we can expand our closets to many more schools in the near future because school officials have told us that there is so much turnover with children coming and going throughout the school year, our once-a-year, long-time model no longer completely serves all the children who need our help.”

“With this new approach, Assistance League can supply services to a school throughout the year to allow students to focus on their studies rather than basic needs,” Randolph added.

This real-time initiative for providing needed clothing and other support was created as an addition to Assistance League's signature Operation School Bell program.  Through Operation School Bell,  Assistance League volunteers contributed 5,700 hours last year and gave each student 22 items:  two pairs of pants, two short-sleeve and one long-sleeve shirt, one fleece jacket, six pair of socks, six pair of underwear, a toothbrush, toothpaste, a hat and gloves (and for each girl—a headband or a bow) and a belt. Each student also selects a new book to take home. The school nurse receives deodorant, socks, underwear, sports bras and camisoles for their use during the school year.

During the 2017-2018 school year, Assistance League of St. Louis served 7,834 elementary school students.  The children come to the organization’s headquarters in Ellisville by school bus for fittings from 30 elementary schools in Ferguson-Florissant, Hazelwood, Jennings, Normandy and St. Louis City districts.  Assistance League volunteers will continue to conduct fitting days at headquarters for each of the 17 schools with the closets.  Al's Closets are the newest way that Assistance League of St. Louis continues its tradition of MAKING A DIFFERENCE by TRANSFORMING LIVES and STRENGTHENING COMMUNITY in St. Louis.