Spotlight on Nonprofits: Assistance League Reno-Sparks Supports Students, Vets, and Suppliers (Sponsored)


The Aid League worked with the Education Alliance to donate more than 430 laptops to students in Washoe County schools. Courtesy photo

What does a large, all-volunteer organization do when struck by a pandemic? We are improvising to modify our programs to continue to support the students, veterans, seniors and victims of assault that Assistance League® (AL) has supported for almost 40 years.

Delores Clewe, president of Links To Learning, Fran Fricke and Barbara Tomac, co-chairs of Operation School Bell®, AL’s largest philanthropic program, quickly realized that the 2020 school year was going to be very different.

“We found that a lot of students didn’t have computers at home for distance learning,” said Fricke. “We have asked our members to donate used computers. It wasn’t enough, so we combined our two programs to purchase over 430 Washoe County schools laptops to loan out to students.

Throughout this year, our Operation Bell School volunteers have continued to purchase clothes for some of the most deserving students while reaching out to schools to help them provide clothes for their wardrobes.

“When children come to school and immediately need extra clothes, these clothes closets are essential,” Tomac noted.

Because the Read to ME program had to be cut due to Covid, Reading “Grandmas” created 21 videos, available on the Boys & Girls Club website, that preschoolers can watch at home or at the Boys & Girls Club kindergarten.

Members of the Relief League donated four carts full of Christmas presents and supplies for homebound veterans and hospitalized women.

The Essentials team delivered kits complete with toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, comb and more to communities in schools, seniors, victims of abuse and other organizations from our region.

“Money is very limited this year, so the need for basic grooming supplies has really increased,” said Suzi Jensen, manager of Essentials.

The Students in Transition program for high school students in need has had to make several adjustments. SIT Still Provides Clothing, Tuition Assistance Bursaries, School Supplies Essential Hygiene Kits and Day Bus Passes to Washoe County CIT Program – all under COVID restrictions strict.

Our veterans outreach program had to move away from in-person contact programs, but that didn’t mean veterans couldn’t have their annual baby shower or holiday angel tree. In June, AL hosted a drive-through baby shower. Each of the 31 mothers received a diaper bag full of gifts donated by LA members.

“I can’t get over everything you give us!” Exclaimed Courtney, a veteran of the Navy.

In September, AL provided the VA Homeless Veterans Stand Down with 235 wheeled sports bags and approximately 500 jackets. In December, LA members provided 42 gift bags to hospitalized female veterans and completed gift requests for 27 homebound veterans.

League Food Pantry Assistance provides over 350 seniors with two bags of groceries each month.

“A homebound veteran woman refused to eat or take her medication until she could open up and enjoy all of her gifts,” a VA social worker reported on her weekly visit.

We continue to provide the homeless veteran’s pantry on a monthly basis. AL also provides passes for the VA Hospital and the Homeless Vet Project. So far, LA members have used their own supplies to sew 823 masks for the VA.

Our Senior Food Pantry has had to adapt to shortages in stores that include toilet paper and canned hams. Seniors now receive a variety of canned vegetables and protein, fresh produce, cleaning supplies, hygiene items and, of course, TP in their food bags.

Each month, seniors can pick up two bags of groceries at the Washoe County Senior Center on 9th Street. Food deliveries are still being made to elderly people confined to their homes by LA members, even though we cannot stay and chat during the COVID era.

Overall, this year has been a year of change. Assistance League also had to open and then close our Thrift Store due to COVID. It should open at the end of March.

“We look forward to entering the post-COVID era where we can have closer contact with people who need our help in our community,” said ALRS President Carol Harriman. “Until then, I marvel at the ability of our 300 volunteer members to adapt and make meaningful contributions to our community. “

This article was provided and paid for by Reno-sparks assistance league.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.