Operation School Bell provides Ada County students with new clothes

The Assistance League of Boise spent roughly $340,000 this year to support students. For some kids, it will be their first time with new shoes or a warm coat.

GARDEN CITY, Idaho — The start of the school year can make many students nervous, especially when they don’t have everything they need. Getting those necessities can also be expensive.

To help students in need, the Assistance League of Boise once again kicked off Operation School Bell on Wednesday in Garden City. The program provides clothing to kindergarten to sixth-grade students in Ada County. 

The program helps about 3,400 children each year and has been collaborating with Ada County school districts to provide students with brand new clothing since 1990.

The students get bused to the Assistance League’s facility, where they get to shop for new clothing and are outfitted from head to toe. According to the program, the retail value of everything each kid gets is around $300.

The co-chair of the program, Leslie Anderson, said for some children, this is the first time they have a new pair of shoes or a warm coat.

New clothing has the potential to boost self esteem, encourage school attendance and improve academic performance, Anderson said.

“There’s been studies done that show that kids that are comfortable in what they’re wearing to school are doing better, interacting more and more involved,” Anderson said. “What’s nice about this program is the children are able to come to us via the schools and through their counselors and social workers.”

From Wednesday, Aug. 30, until Nov. 17, an average of 66 students will visit the Assistance League of Boise each day.

This year, Anderson said the nonprofit spent about $340,000 to support Ada County students and help ensure they have peace of mind attending school in clothing they deserve and need.

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