|A volunteer with the Assistance League of Temecula helps a young shopper during the Operation School Bell event at Kohl's in Menifee Marketplace.|
Monday was one of four days set aside in September and October as Operation School Bell days, in which children whose family qualified for assistance are given a voucher to purchase $125 worth of new clothing items at Kohl's. Kohl's contributes an additional 15 percent of that amount to the total, meaning each child can receive more than $140 worth of clothing.
According to Electra Demos of the Assistance League, the only restriction is that the clothing be school appropriate. Each purchase at the Kohl's checkout count is verified by an Assistance League volunteer working with the Kohl's cashier -- some of whom also volunteer their time.
"This does so much for the child's self-esteem," said Dorcas Shaktman, president of the Assistance League. "Once a student is in middle school, what you wear makes such a difference."
Mike Sauer, store manager at Kohl's, said this is the third year Kohl's has partnered with the Assistance League in this project.
"We are involved because we like to be involved in children's initiatives regarding health and education," Sauer said.
Through this program, the Assistance League of Temecula annually helps provide clothing to about 1,700 students in four local school districts. Menifee Union School District teachers may also apply for grants of up to $500 for classroom projects.
"This is an incredible opportunity for these families," said Dr. Steve Kennedy, superintendent of MUSD. "I've been walking around the store and I've seen such heartfelt gratitude expressed by these students and their parents. One girl said this is the first time she's been able to get more than one outfit for school."
The Assistance League of Temecula also assists residents through its thrift shop, located at 28720 Via Montezuma in Temecula.
|From left: Mary Lindholm, Kohl's store leader; Annette Sheehy, Operation School Bell chair; Dr. Steve Kennedy, superintendent of MUSD; Dorcas Shaktman, Assistance League president; Betti Cadmus, public information officer for MUSD.|