Operation School Bell to help students in new location

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The school year is now in full swing for most of central Indiana, but some families don’t have the money to give their young students everything they need as they go back to class.

This includes basics, like clothing and even underwear.

Operation School Bell has been helping families for decades, but this year the women behind the program a have new place to help the community.

Assistance League Indianapolis member Barbara Mohr took CBS4 on a tour of the new location for Operation School Bell.

“Operation School Bell provides 13 different items for IPS, Lawrence, Washington, Warren and Pike Townships  for kids that are very much in need,” explained Mohr.

For years, the volunteer organization operated out of the Coke Plant on Mass Avenue, but it’s being developed commercially which forced the Assistance League to move.  Now they’re at Forest Manor Professional Development Center on Indy’s east side, and they consider it a blessing in disguise.

“It’s absolutely phenomenal.  No more elevators that get stuck in the basement,” said Mohr.  “We have a condensed area here where our merchandise it’s going to be easy for our volunteers.”

While the location has changed, the stories have not.  The volunteers still help kids without coats, pants and socks.

“They come and they say, ‘Do I get to keep this? How do I pay for it?’  Oh, it’s free and we say yes we’re giving it to you,” said Assistance League Indianapolis President Adele Carr.  “They can’t believe it.”

“We have children who come in who have no underwear or they share underwear with a sibling,” said Mohr.

The Assistance League buys all new items, including products for hygiene many people may take for granted.

“It gives the kids a big boost of self-confidence at school, knowing they’re not missing school because they don’t have something to wear,” said Mohr.

Operation School Bell opens up for students on August 16.  The students are brought in along with the social worker who helped to identify them in school as needing assistance.  One volunteer helps each child gather their new belongings.  You can donate to the Assistance League to help their program.

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