"We are a nonprofit, nonpolitical, nonsectarian, 501(c)(3) tax ID#23-7020093, organization serving emotional and physical needs of children and adults of all ages, regardless of race or creed."
Assistance League of Corvallis has been serving the community since 1968. Our chapter is composed of more than 200 members, together volunteering over 15,000 hours last year in support of our philanthropic programs. The chapter is an all-volunteer organization with no paid staff. For the fiscal year 2010-2011, Assistance League members donated the equivalent of $350,700 to the community in the form of service hours (per 2011 IRS calculations of value per hour.) Monies raised through the chapter's fundraising activities are used for its philanthropic programs; donations are tax deductible.
The History of Assistance League of Corvallis
In February, 1967, Doris Caldwell, Cathy Lewis, Jane Mc Henry, Jean Reynolds, and Charlotte Thompson met with five women from the Salem chapter of Assistance League to discuss forming a chapter in Corvallis. Later that spring Dorotha Barratt, Colleen Gilbert, Jean Hogensen, Shirley Wirth, and Midge Woods joined the original five and helped create a list of women to invite to join this new venture. Ninety-six women accepted invitations to membership.
At the first meeting in February, 1968, held in the Consumers Power meeting room at 9th Street and Garfield Avenue, the group elected officers and selected Operation School Bell as their first philanthropic program. Clothing was received and displayed in Hal Whiteside’s old real-estate office on Witham Hill. In early 1970, Operation School Bell moved to the second floor of Anderson’s Sporting Goods -- where it was cold in the winter but rent-free. That fall, regular meetings moved from the Consumers Power building to the Corvallis Country Club, where the group met until May, 2007.
On May 15, 1969, National Assistance League granted us Guild status. On May 12, 1970, the Corvallis Guild became the 49th chartered chapter of National Assistance League.
Most board and committee meetings were held in members’ homes until 1972 when we purchased a house at 534 NW 4th Street to be our headquarters for Operation School Bell and other activities. In 1994, we sold the 4th Street house and purchased another at 547 NW 9th Street. We renovated the house and paved the adjoining lot for parking. This house is still the center of Assistance League activities except for the monthly meeting, which is held at the Corvallis Country Club.
Our Philanthropic Programs
Operation School Bell continues to be our signature philanthropic program. This program provides new clothing for eligible Benton County school children to encourage learning, improve attendance, and increase self-esteem. Each student receives a warm jacket, shoes, jeans, shirts, sweats, socks, underwear, and a personal grooming kit. School personnel and social services agencies refer recipients to the program. In recent years, we have clothed over 700 children each year. Since 1968, over 18,000 Benton County school children have received clothing from Assistance League. In 2009, we also began providing paper products, feminine hygiene supplies, head-lice shampoo, and other related items to families who need them through a program called Hygiene Help. The program is based at Harding Center and administered by 509J's Community Outreach liaison.
Dental Education provides dental hygiene instruction to approximately 900 Benton County sixth graders each year. Students view our self-produced, award-winning video, “The Power of Healthy Teeth,” and receive a dental hygiene kit.
SAT Review classes provide individual books, classroom instruction, and a practice test for Benton County high school juniors and seniors. Classes are held in the fall and winter for a nominal fee. Qualified teachers provide subject review as well as tips and strategies for successful test taking.
Hug-a-Bear provides an ongoing supply of new teddy bears to local and state police, fire departments, and other Benton County agencies to comfort children in traumatic situations.
CARES [Clothing Assistance in Real Emergency Situations] provides clothing assistance to emergency department patients at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center when they need clothing to wear home.
Other philanthropic programs over the years included the following:
- Operation Toddler was added to Operation School Bell in 1971 to assist children of preschool age; it was discontinued in 1990.
- The Dental Care Center began at Cheldelin Middle School in 1971 with a dental chair from the office of Dr. William Snook, donated by Lilias Snook and her daughter Barbara Cameron. In 1990, dental services moved to local dental offices.
- From 1975 to 1984, Student Aid gave one-on-one aid to children from Mountain View Elementary School who needed help with language and math skills. Later the service was extended to other schools in the 509J district where needed.
Our Fundraising Activities
In order to fund our philanthropic programs, Assistance League has held many fundraising activities. The first fundraiser, in 1968, was a garage sale that netted $300. As a cooperative venture with four other Assistance League chapters in the Northwest, we printed a cookbook entitled Nips and Dips. Other fundraisers have included The Haunted House, Red Stocking Revue, Village Fair, Mo’s Chowder Luncheon, Middleman Telephone Service, Bridge Marathon, Thrift Shop (later renamed Recycle Center), gala openings for new businesses, and Holiday Boutique. We have published four cookbooks (Nips and Dips; Oregon Sampler: Resorts and Recipes; Beautiful, Bountiful Oregon; and Everything Old Is New Again), as well as a perpetual gardening calendar called Oregon Gardening Guide for the Willamette Valley.
Today our fundraisers include the following:
- Winter’s Eve Corvallis – a sparkling holiday celebration held in downtown Corvallis in conjunction with local merchants, featuring a silent auction, shopping, music, wine, and fabulous food.
- The Galleria – a holiday gift sale featuring unique, hand-crafted items, ALC Foods, The Cupcake Café, and musical entertainment
- ALC Foods – delicious food mixes and prepared food items sold at The Galleria, Winter's Eve Corvallis, and occasional other venues
- Grants – donations from various agencies, funds, or foundations
- Individual Donations -- 501(c)(3) tax-deductible gifts from individuals and businesses.
Assistance League is a vibrant presence in the community and in Benton County, offering services and opportunities to children and families. We invite you to join us in our mission by joining our chapter or by making a financial contribution.