Fresno Assistance League programs.

The Fresno Assistance League provides basic needs and seasonal programs. They range from Operation School Bell for back to school supplies to Gift Boxes which may have free Christmas gifts. The charity focuses on children as well as senior citizens from low income households in the region.

Seniors can get help at Christmas from Operation Gift Box. The Fresno AL coordinates volunteers that assemble and distributing holiday care packages for senior members of the community and their spouses. The goal is to offer some form of companionship during what can sometimes be a lonely time of the year.

Thousands of elderly members in the community receive free hand-assembled holiday care packages. They are even delivered to home bound seniors, and the program operates in partnership with the Fresno-Madera Area Agency on Aging – FMAAA.

Another key partner agency on this service is Assisteens, which is a group of volunteers in Fresno County that assemble the boxes according to lists of approved items as well as what the client needs. The requests are often provided by the recipient organizations. Operation Gift Box will also provide Christmas cheer to victims of elder abuse who are referred by the local division of Adult Protective Services or the Fresno County Sheriff's Office.

The contents of the Christmas box will vary. There may be free toothbrushes, pens, hand creams, groceries, word puzzles, mugs, instant oatmeal, hot chocolate, granola bars, ensure and more. Other goods may be provided as well by the Fresno Assistance League, as they want to make each box special. The power of a giving heart and a few simple acts of kindness can make a significant difference in a senior's life.

The Fresno Assistance League also operates Operation School Bell. This too supports thousands of children each and every year. Using volunteers and donations, the non-profit is providing school clothes for children who have been referred by nurses, local churches, home school liaisons, or teachers.

The supplies provided, whether clothing or items such as backpacks, will ensure that children or teenagers are fully prepared to begin school. Most of the assistance is for kindergarten through sixth grade students. They may get items including free Target vouchers to use in exchange for school clothes of their own choosing.




Another resource for sick children or those that faced a disaster is the Fresno Assistance League Operation Bear Hug. It is for the youth that have faced accidents, fire, and domestic violence. Clients may be given stuffed Teddy Bears, however families will need to apply for this program at civic, local emergency and community action agencies. If there are supplies available, then these agencies will pass the bears on to provide comfort to children and others who have experienced trauma.

Partner agencies for Operation Bear Hug include the California Highway Patrol, Footsteps at St. Agnes, Clovis Fire and Police Department, Department of Social Services, Marjorie Mason Center, as well as the Fresno Council on Child Abuse Prevention. There are other civic groups as well that take part.

Victims of sexual assault, child abuse, or family violence may benefit from Operation Caring. This Assistance League program may give these individuals basic needs. Children may be provided teddy bears, adults given comfortable sweat clothes, blankets, or personal hygiene kits and much more.

There is also a low cost thrift store on site. The Operation Caring may give clients free vouchers so they can shop there. They can buy suitable clothing for court appearances and other goods.

Fresno Assistance League thrift store, or Bargain Boutique, sells goods and the money is then given to fund their programs. The inventory of goods for sale may include household goods; gently used clothing for men, women, teens, and children; linens; children’s toys; a variety of books for all ages; holiday and seasonal merchandise; Christmas goods; and many other items.

The store runs by dedicated volunteers. It also relies on donations of goods from the community. Anyone from Fresno County can shop there, though it is open limited hours.

The Fresno Assistance League is located at 2037 W. Bullard Avenue in Fresno, CA 93711-1200. The phone number is 559-349-0220.



By Jon McNamara

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