Assistance League of Northern Virginia is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization providing young students with additional resources to help them succeed in school and become productive adults. We focus on providing food, clothing, and other necessities to children as well as help to improve their reading skills. We know that providing children with these essentials not only increases their chance for success in school but positively impacts their physical, social, emotional, and intellectual development and improves their prospects for moving up the economic ladder as adults.
Even before the pandemic, the needs of our community were much greater than our small chapter could satisfy. Those needs have intensified as costs have risen. We ask for your support so we can continue to help students and families who are still struggling.
Through WEEKEND FOOD FOR KIDS, we provide nonperishable food to children who get meals at school but have insufficient food on weekends. We suspended the program during the pandemic when schools were closed and instead delivered more than 9300 grocery gift cards, valued at more than $194,000. A school principal conveyed the gratitude of her school’s families and noted that our “generous donation of gift cards helped families facing difficult times.” She added: “Parents are truly appreciative of these cards and their smiles convey their thankfulness.” We resumed food deliveries in early 2022, and provided 1680 bags each month to 6 schools & grocery gift cards to a seventh school; gift cards went to all 7 schools in the summer. We expanded the food program this school year, and now provide 1720 food bags each month plus grocery cards. The food bags and grocery gift cards continue to have a profound impact.
Through NEW CLOTHING FOR KIDS, we deliver sweatpants, hoodies, leggings, shirts, sneakers, underwear, socks, winter jackets, and toiletries, as well as hand-made hats and scarves. New clothes give kids a sense of normalcy and fitting in that can improve self-esteem, school attendance, and educational success. Students are more likely to participate in school activities, including playing outdoors at recess, if they have shoes that fit and winter coats to keep them warm. One principal thanked us for our clothing donations, noting that it ‘provides much-needed support for our students during the windy and blustery fall and winter seasons.’ The items are helpful when students are sick and need a change of clothes, and can even allow students to attend more days when they would otherwise have to rotate clothes with siblings.
Teachers also provide feedback. One teacher reported that a child feared his new clothes would be taken back because he'd never had clothes with price tags; while other teachers note that children sometimes leave the tags on their clothes to show they are brand new. One teacher reminded us how a simple gesture can make a huge difference. A student whose family had recently immigrated here and was struggling financially had only 2 school outfits. But when she received the uniforms we donated, “she could not stop smiling. Although she has very little English skills, she said 'thank you' over and over. Whenever I see her, she is wearing her uniform with pride.”
Because of the importance of good reading skills for a child’s success, our LITERACY FOR KIDS program has two tracks. One track involves individualized tutoring and reading support for young students. At one school, we provide weekly one-on-one tutoring to students at risk of falling behind. At two other schools, we provide read-aloud practice to 1st, 2nd & 3rd graders.
Our second literacy track involves donating new books. We’ve expanded our book donations and hold book fairs at selected schools at which EVERY student chooses a new book to keep. For many students, the new book is their very first; and for a few it is the only book in the home. Between 2018 and 2022, we provided nearly 10,000 new books to students through book fairs, birthday books, summer reading bags, and Little Libraries. This past school year, we donated 4600 new books and have plans for book fairs and birthday book donations at 8 schools this year.
With OPERATION HUGS, we help young students and provide new mothers with special items. Hugs Pillows are handmade, heart-shaped pillows in vibrant colors, stuffed with a Beanie Baby, activity book, & crayons. These cute pillows go to kindergartners to welcome them to school and help them learn coping skills. Baby Bundles go to new mothers at a clinic for low-income families and contain hand-made baby blankets, hats, clothes, and a book for mom to read to her infant.
We’re proud that our programs have earned a platinum rating from Candid and are highly rated by GreatNonprofits in 2023.
We couldn't carry out our mission without the generosity of donors like you. We are very grateful for your support and hope we can rely on your generosity so we can continue to make a difference.