Assistance League of the Eastside volunteers raise more than $400,000 annually for Operation School Bell, which lets 3,500 local children select new back-to-school apparel at Fred Meyer shopping events.

Assistance League of the Eastside volunteers raise more than $400,000 annually for Operation School Bell, which lets 3,500 local children select new back-to-school apparel at Fred Meyer shopping events.

Vital volunteer-run programs serve the Eastside’s most vulnerable

Dine, dance and enjoy an Evening in the Tropics March 16 in support of four local programs

Offering both practical essentials and messages of support to local children in need, victims of assault, survivors of domestic abuse and the homeless, a group of Eastside volunteers quietly works to bring comfort and hope to these often unseen populations.

An all-volunteer non-profit serving the Eastside community through its philanthropic programs since 1997, the Assistance League of the Eastside is one of 120 chapters in the National Assistance League. Today, the Eastside chapter’s 159 members provide four vital programs to vulnerable local residents.

“Giving back to the community is what we do,” explains president Marlene Vacknitz. “A lot of people feel there’s not a lot of need on the Eastside but there is, it’s just hidden.”

Donors and volunteers alike appreciate that close to 85 cents of every dollar donated goes directly to local people in need, says president-elect Mahrukh Motafram. “We’re very proud of that!

Assistance League focuses on 4 philanthropic programs

  1. Operation School Bell: A signature program of Assistance League, Eastside volunteers raise more than $400,000 annually to serve some 3,500 students. Volunteers work with guidance counselors at Bellevue, Lake Washington and Northshore School Districts to host annual shopping events at Fred Meyer, where elementary students pick out $100 in new clothing, and middle and high school students select up to $150 of back-to-school apparel.

    When kids don’t have to worry about fitting in, they are more successful. Guidance counselors report that 60 per cent of the students show increased confidence, get along well with their peers and in turn get better grades.

    “All of our programs are very important but with Operation School Bell we get to see the impact first-hand,” Motafram says. “You see how our donors and volunteers have made such a difference in the life of a child, for something as simple as a new pair of shoes.”

  2. Assault Survivor Kits: These kits are designed to help children, women and men who are survivors of assault. Because clothing is typically kept by police as evidence when someone is assaulted, survivors can be left with nothing to wear. Kits include sweat pants and top plus a hygiene kit with pre-pasted toothbrush, shampoo, body wash and hairbrush/comb. Serving 41 hospitals across Washington State, Assistance League of the Eastside members drive as far as Spokane to deliver kits to hospitals.

  3. Starting Over Support: Partnering with LifeWire, Dawn and New Beginnings organizations to support domestic violence survivors, volunteers provide food and backpacks filled with basic items for people placed in hotels, and baskets of essentials for families entering the shelter. “When someone leaves an abusive situation, they typically have only what they can carry, so we provide them with something new and a few necessities. Something as simple as a fresh new towel can have such an impact,” Vacknitz says.
  4. Help4Homeless: Partnering with The Sophia Way in Bellevue, Acres of Diamonds in Duvall, and The New Bethlehem Project in Kirkland, Help4Homeless provides welcome baskets filled with more than 30 basic need items and an encouragement card to individuals entering local shelters. “We work directly with the shelters so we can respond to what their needs are,” Vacknitz says.

How you can help: An Evening in the Tropics and more!

The Assistance League of the Eastside hosts special events through the year to support its programs, including the Holiday Home Tour in December and this spring’s Evening in the Tropics, welcoming the community for dinner, dancing and philanthropy at the Snoqualmie Casino Ballroom March 16. Come enjoy dinner, dancing to music by The Herding Cats and the opportunity to “Raise the Paddle” to help individuals and families in need.

Tickets are $85 and available online. Can’t attend? Donate directly online!

Sponsorships and grants are always welcome, as are individual donations. Learn more at aleastside.org. “People are always welcome to come check out our monthly meetings too!” Vacknitz says.

Assistance League of the Eastside’s Operation School Bell program makes a real difference in the lives of local children.

Assistance League of the Eastside’s Operation School Bell program makes a real difference in the lives of local children.

Assistance League of the Eastside’s Help4Homeless program provides welcome baskets filled with more than 30 basic need items and an encouragement card to individuals entering local shelters.

Assistance League of the Eastside’s Help4Homeless program provides welcome baskets filled with more than 30 basic need items and an encouragement card to individuals entering local shelters.

Assault Survivor Kits, packaged and delivered to local hospitals by Assistance League of the Eastside’s volunteers, include sweat pants and top plus a hygiene kit with pre-pasted toothbrush, shampoo, body wash and hairbrush/comb. After an assault, clothes are often taken in evidence, leaving victims with nothing to wear.

Assault Survivor Kits, packaged and delivered to local hospitals by Assistance League of the Eastside’s volunteers, include sweat pants and top plus a hygiene kit with pre-pasted toothbrush, shampoo, body wash and hairbrush/comb. After an assault, clothes are often taken in evidence, leaving victims with nothing to wear.

Assault Survivor Kits, packaged and delivered to local hospitals by Assistance League of the Eastside’s volunteers, include sweat pants and top plus a hygiene kit with pre-pasted toothbrush, shampoo, body wash and hairbrush/comb. After an assault, clothes are often taken in evidence, leaving victims with nothing to wear.

More in Marketplace

5 reasons to reface, not replace: Learn to love your kitchen again

Puget Sound countertop and backsplash experts will Transform your living spaces

Comcast Uniquely Positioned to Bridge Seattle’s Digital Divide

The City of Seattle Technology Access and Adoption study showed that more… Continue reading

Home sweet home: Learn how you can get there faster

You’re a valued member of the team at Procura Mortgage in Everett

3 ways to support a loved one living through dementia

The right team brings care, support and active engagement

Vital volunteer-run programs serve the Eastside’s most vulnerable

Dine, dance and enjoy an Evening in the Tropics March 16 in support of four local programs

Washington customers win as Comcast taps the latest tech

Technology has drastically changed the way we communicate – how we connect… Continue reading

More than 100 Boeing employees joined 6,000 attendees from around the world at the 2018 Out & Equal Workplace Summit in Seattle, where Boeing was the event’s first-ever Host City Sponsor.
BoeingPride on full display at Out Equal Summit

Company plays host to more than 6,000 workplace advocates in Seattle, WA

Boeing reaches out to help military members and their families

Growing up on a military base can have its share of challenges… Continue reading

A $1-million grant from Boeing to The Nature Conservancy will help restore Northwest forests burned during wildfires and support tree planting in urban areas in Washington.
                                A $1-million grant from Boeing to The Nature Conservancy will help restore Northwest forests burned during wildfires and support tree planting in urban areas in Washington.
Boeing announces nearly $250 million in corporate giving

Includes $55 million in new grants to charitable partners and their programs in 2019 and beyond

First BOEING 777X flight test airplane comes together

Boeing’s longest passenger jet to fly in 2019

Community comes to Crossroads this winter

Enjoy entertainment, family nights and more

Does your work hurt?

Best practices help prevent workplace injury