Assistance League of Santa Ana has been helping children and families in Santa Ana for over 80 years. One of our significant philanthropies is Operation School Bell. This program provides for complete outfits for children, including school uniforms for school. But we often see a need and decide to go beyond just providing uniforms. We discovered many families run out of food so we stock an emergency food pantry at one of our schools. As other needs are identified, we provide as well. Here is a story of one family we have helped, as told by Lisa Solomon.
Says Gayle McLean, of Assistance League of Santa Ana, “Lisa is our chair of Operation School Bell and she is also a principal at Madison Elementary School in Santa Ana. She is an amazing volunteer and an ever more amazing administrator (she received Elementary Administrator of the Year for California).”
We have a family from King elementary who for the first time ever has been able to get their own apartment. They have always rented a room or a garage since their daughter was a young student. Well the family has been struggling and barely making rent. The students were walking or scootering to school and were sharing one bus pass amongst three teens and their mom who had to get the kids to school. They reached out to a board member to see if we had access to student bus passes.
I was able to speak to the mother and she explained that paying this higher rent they were unable to pay for the passes. In talking, I learned she also has been struggling with having enough food for the month and her younger children needed school uniforms. We were able to get bags of groceries from Madison and have them delivered to the mother along with the much-needed bus passes. Mom was very grateful and sent a thank you message quickly saying how grateful she was. The teenage daughter also sent a message saying thank you for helping her family. We quickly scheduled an appointment for the family to get uniforms and mom showed up early for her appointment. One of our school board members also came that day as well. Both were so grateful with all the help we were able to give this family and many others.
Well- that’s where the circle continues. The teenage daughter saw that there were other families in need in her neighborhood and called to ask if we could help another family. We were able to help them as well. She also asked if she could come volunteer and found a few more volunteers for the next Operation School Bell. To me, this story shows not just how we give but how we model for others to give. The cycle of giving starts with us and grows and grows.
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