For the past decade, a local volunteer organization that began quite small and little known here has become a leader in providing something fundamental to bolstering self-esteem and a sense of worth in hundreds of school children.
In June of 2007, with the signing of a new charter, 36 local people started the Assistance League of the Columbia Pacific (ALCP), rolled up their sleeves and got to work. That same year ALCP clothed 70 school children in need through an Assistance League signature program named "Operation School Bell", a philanthropic program that provides new clothing to children whose attendance and performance at school have been adversely affected by the lack of adequate school clothing.
Now, ten years later, the original 36 volunteer membership as swelled to 129, which by most accounts makes it the largest single organization of its type in Clatsop County. In the 2016/2017 school year, ALCP has provided clothing for 690 local school kids and those members have contributed nearly 10,000 hours of volunteer time.
The organization takes a fun approach to raising what they need to accomplish their mission. A Golf Ball Drop via helicopter at Astoria Golf and Country Club is a well-attended event that raises cash for the group's efforts.
A "Home and Chef Tour" of historic Astoria homes has become a local favorite and each year, during the NFL Superbowl Game, ALCP offers women the opportunity to shop a unique "Accessory Sale" where bargains on designer items contributed by members and supporters abound.
The fundraisers, along with donations all go toward the ALCP mission, which has grown along with the organization over the last ten years.
In addition to "Operation School Bell", ALCP also targets other needs a child may have in different situations. Those programs include:
School girls heading to that prom may pick out a dress from ALCP's collection of over 300 gowns for that special night and best of all, there is no charge for their use. Everyone should be able to attend a once in a lifetime experience of their High School Prom.
Duffel Bag Program
The Duffel Bag Program was born of a need to assist local children as they move from their homes into foster care. These children are typically departing an environment that requires them to leave all possessions behind.
Athletic Participation Program
Assistance League of the Columbia Pacific developed its Athletic Participation Program to cover the cost of athletic fees and sports equipment required by high school and middle school students in financial need.