By HM staff

Assistance League has adapted our major fundraising campaigns to reflect the “new normal” of these past two years. This year our signature fundraiser Books & Brunch, held as a virtual event in November 2020, became hybrid this November. Guests were able to attend in person or through a live stream. Attendance and contributions exceeded our expectations. Our spring fundraiser “A New Start for Spring” was conducted completely online for the first time and saw higher than expected donations. “We are grateful for the continuing support we have received this year from our members and the broader community,” says Maria Garino, President. We have seen each of our programs grow in 2021. Our Operation School Bell program provided new winter coats hats and gloves to over 2000 students in 30 schools and at local Head Start locations. We provided gift cards for over 500 middle school students in 11 schools to shop for the clothing they need to attend class every day.

Our scholarship program for continuing College of DuPage students increased its award to $3500 and added a special scholarship opportunity for adults needing additional coursework or a certificate to make a career change. Our New Start program provided essential kitchen equipment to nearly 200 families transitioning from homelessness to independent living. We are grateful to the Hinsdale Junior Woman’s Club for their grant to help 50 of those families. We are introducing a new service this year called Beyond the Bell. Working with social workers, we have developed a list of clothing and personal care items that they would like to have available in school when student emergencies arise, providing the children with the items needed to stay comfortable and remain in the classroom. We are piloting this program with 11 schools and expect significant expansion in 2022. Assistance League is an all volunteer organization. So, membership commitment and connection are vital to our success. The restrictions on in-person gatherings have been a challenge which we have addressed with Zoom and hybrid meetings, online and outdoor social events, and weekly communications to keep members informed and connected.

*Photo provided by the Assistance League