For 35 years, the Assistance League of St. Louis has served the community through philanthropic programs. One of the largest chapters in the national Assistance League organization, the nonprofit is operated entirely by volunteers. The members’ dedication to the organization’s mission is evident. During its last fiscal year, the Assistance League helped more than 36,000 St. Louisans, and its nearly 500 members logged 61,200 volunteer hours.
To make its programs possible, the nonprofit has three major avenues to raise money: its upscale resale shop Fantastic Finds in Creve Coeur, an Author’s Brunch in the spring and its largest fundraiser, the Imagine! gala in the fall. This year, Imagine! Puttin’ on the Glitz! is Nov. 5 at the Doubletree by Hilton-Chesterfield. “The gala brings in a large portion of our annual operating budget, and all of the money we raise goes back into supporting St. Louis,” president Pam Bogosian says. “We hope that people will come out to have fun and celebrate the meaningful work we are doing in the community with our members.”
One of the programs that the gala supports is Operation School Bell, which provides clothing to students. Each fall, the Assistance League provides school uniforms for kids at approaching 40 public elementary schools in the St. Louis area. In the past, the organization brought students to its headquarters for fittings, but during the pandemic, it pivoted to having the children measured in schools or at home by parents. The nonprofit also maintains AL Closets in 26 schools where students have year-round access to items like coats, underwear, socks, hats, gloves and toiletries. “We work with the schools to make sure the closets are stocked with items the kids need, restocking and organizing things on a monthly basis,” Bogosian explains. The Assistance League is currently expanding the program to also serve local middle schools.
Operation School Bell is not the only beneficiary of the Imagine! gala. The nonprofit has an extensive list of services that support kids and adults in the community. Last year, its literacy program, Books from Friends, provided more than 26,600 books to young readers, and the nonprofit is developing a new initiative to better meet the literacy needs of children, so they are strong readers by grade four. Other programs include creating care packages with personal items for women in shelters, providing clothing for victims of sexual assault whose own clothes had to be submitted for evidence, outfitting elementary students with athletic shoes and offering financial aid for higher education.
Working with multiple social workers and other agencies, the Assistance League also operates an outreach program to provide families with much needed items, such as beds and kitchen supplies. Last year, the initiative met the critical needs of more than 4,600 people, and it’s currently working to help those impacted by the recent flooding. “We listen to the community as we develop our services,” Bogosian explains. “The programs aren’t stagnant or cookie-cutter—they adapt to meet what people need. Our members are dedicated to finding ways to help the people of St. Louis.
Completely run by volunteers, the Assistance League of St. Louis puts caring and commitment into action through community-based, philanthropic programs. Its Imagine! Puttin’ on the Glitz gala is Nov. 5 at Doubletree by Hilton-Chesterfield. Pictured on the cover: President Pam Bogosian (center) with students and staff from Adams Elementary. For more information, call 636.227.6200 or visit alstl.org.
Cover courtesy of Assistance League of St. Louis
Cover photo by Colin Miller of Strauss Peyton Photography
Pictured at top: President Pam Bogosian with students at Adams Elementary
Photo courtesy of Assistance League of St. Louis