A 91-year-old former teacher is thrilled to give back as part of the Assistance League of Phoenix’s Operation School Bell that provides clothes to students in need.

Dee Ames, who lives in the Beatitudes Campus, has volunteered for the program for nearly 30 years. The non-profit organization provides clothes, underwear, shoes, toothbrushes, brushes, socks and other items to thousands of children and teens in the Valley who attend Title 1 schools every year. It helps about 1,000 students in North Central, said Aimee Runyon, CEO of the Assistance League of Phoenix.

Dee Ames, right, with Priscilla Allison, has volunteered with the Assistance League of Phoenix for nearly 30 years. Allison also is a member of the organization (photo courtesy of Assistance League of Phoenix).

Ames, a widow who taught school for 40 years, has enjoyed helping youths pick out clothes and preparing their bags with items during Operation School Bell.

“Assistance League really saved my life,” she said. “I’ve had a good life and the Assistance League is a big part of it.”

The children and teens usually receive school uniforms but since many are attending classes from home this academic year due to COVID-19 they will obtain casual clothes including sweatpants, shorts and lightweight jackets. They also will receive masks and hand sanitizer because of the support of the BHHS Legacy Foundation.

Ames will not be able to attend Operation School Bell this year because of the risk of contracting COVID-19 but she has been a big help over the years, Runyon said.

“Her warmth and her sincerity really shine through when she’s around the kids and she’s just a wonderful person to work with,” she said.

To learn more about Assistance League of Phoenix, visit alphx.org.