A shopping trip that’s worth every penny

By Ian Perrotta

The Assistance League of Southeastern Michigan is at it again.

Last year, the non-profit organization out of Rochester donated six $1,000 mini-grants to teachers in the Hamtramck Public Schools system. And just yesterday they were at Dickinson East Elementary School distributing new winter wardrobes to about 265 students.

As part of the Assistance League’s “Operation School Bell” program, members and volunteers set up a “store” in the school’s gym – complete with clothing racks, employees and a checkout area – and each child was given an opportunity to “shop” for free with an Assistance League member.

The children, kindergarteners through sixth-graders, were selected by the school’s social workers. Each kid was allowed to pick out a new winter coat, a hat, gloves, underwear, socks, two tops, jeans, a book, a hygiene kit and a gift card for shoes. And to top it off, everything was stuffed in a new duffel bag.

To pay for the event, the Assistance League used money raised in their second-hand clothing store. According to Betty Zych, the Vice President of Communications for the organization, each child’s wardrobe averages out to a cost of about $75. A donation of two trucks from Rochester Mini Storage allowed for the transportation of all the goods.

“The kids are so excited,” said Zych. “They love being able to pick out what they want. Some of them have never had new clothes.”

The Assistance League will be holding a fundraiser on Thursday, Nov. 18 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at The Palazzo Grande in Shelby Township. For more information log on to www.semich.assistanceleague.org.

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