Upcoming Fundraisers Include a Holiday Gala, Holiday Home Tours
It’s that time of year again; holiday happenings are all around. But before you book up your holiday season, plan on attending a couple events that are sure to offer a good time while also benefiting your community. I recently spoke with Stephanie Clinton, president-elect of the Assistance League Norman, about the nonprofit, which was founded in 1974 and is run entirely by volunteers. Two of the organization’s largest fundraisers occur over the holiday season.
What is your mission?
Assistance League Norman is dedicated to creating and funding philanthropic programs that enrich the lives of the Norman community. As a group, we aspire to meet the challenging need of individuals in our community.
How has your organization grown over the years?
As the needs in the community have grown, we have tried to adapt to serve those needs. The Community Outreach committee was added to address emergency situations that arise in the community and don’t fit within one of our seven programs. For instance, this past spring, Assistance League (through Community Outreach) sponsored a Food and Shelter cottage in McKown Village.
Can you provide a description of some of the programs and services you offer?
Operation School Bell works with the Norman Public School system and Little Axe to identity children (K-12) who are in need of new school clothes. Volunteers help children shop for new clothes, coats, socks, undergarments, backpacks, books, hygiene kits and accessories. All of these items are free to the children and give them the confidence needed to start the school year off right and ready to learn without the worry or stress of wondering if they will have new clothes that fit and are stylish.
Two years ago, Assistance League of Norman partnered with Kohl’s to provide the same experience for middle and high school children, but at the department store. By partnering with Kohl’s, students shop on their own time after school and don’t have to worry about missing class or questions from friends as to where they were during the day.
Could you provide some information about your upcoming holiday events?
All of Assistance League’s programs are entirely funded through donations, grants and fundraising events. The largest fundraising event is our annual holiday gala. It is a black tie or themed event with silent and live auctions and entertainment.
This year’s gala is themed Hollywood Trivia Night and will be held at Riverwind Casino on Nov. 18. Tickets are $100 each and can be purchased by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Later in the holiday season is the Holiday Home Tour. Five beautiful homes will open their doors to the public. Tickets are $20 each, and can be purchased in advance or at each home. A list of homes is available on our website, assistanceleague.org/norman.
Our newest fundraising event is OSBee, an adult spelling bee. Spelling isn’t the only competition at OSBee; teams also compete for best theme, table decorations and costumes. Team packages start at $250; single tickets to cheer the spellers on are $25. OSBee will be held at The Hall at The Railhouse on Oct. 19.
Do you partner with any organizations in the community?
Assistance League Norman partners with the Norman Police Department and Norman Regional Hospital to provide teddy bears for children who have experienced trauma. We also partner with the Women’s Resource Center to provide emergency supplies, snacks, clean undergarments and hygiene kits for women and families who have experienced domestic abuse or sexual abuse, and Full Circle Adult Day Center to provide once-a-month activities and companionship for their elderly clients.
What unique needs does your organization face?
Our biggest challenge is finding enough volunteers to serve the ever-growing needs of students who depend on Operation School Bell. Each year, Assistance League clothes over 1,600 school children, and each year, the school counselors ask us if they can add children to the list.
What can people in the community do to help your organization?
There are many ways to help Assistance League succeed. Consider attending one of our fundraising events or making a donation through our website (assistanceleague.org/norman/donate). We understand that not every person is able to donate money, but time is a resource just as valuable. Organizations or businesses are welcome to work with our Operation School Bell coordinators to schedule a time when they can help shop with children. Membership is an excellent way for individuals to become involved. Email email@example.com for more information.