A League of Their Own
Although Assistance League is one of the largest, national volunteer organizations, it still manages to realize local needs within each of its chapters. Over the past 52 years, the Assitance League of Tucson has allowed volunteers to turn their visions of their community into reality. Standing in a storage room full of donations, it was evident that each member was taking pride in his/ her vision, delivering personal and special attention to the work to be done.
“We actually began as a homemaker service for geriatric patients,” notes Tucson Director Jane Glasser, “but over the years our work was duplicated within the healthcare services offered in town so we shifted our focus to different programs.” Now- Assistance League of Tucson is dedicated to providing essential goods and services to disadvantaged men, women, and children in the Greater Tucson area. With over 400 members who donate over 45,000 hours to a colorful variety of philanthropic programs, its office has quadrupled in size, including the addition of a thrift store which dedicates 80% of its profits to its programs.
With its tremendous growth, the agency has managed to keep in stride with the growth and changing needs of Tucson. In the early 90's, its members realized the needs of the growing refugee community as families escaping persecution were resettled into Tucson. In the past year, millions of individuals abroad have had to flee their villages, oftentimes building temporary shelters from straw to avoid the pain of having permanent homes burnt down. Between escape and thievery, many families are left with little belongings to begin new lives in peace. Fortunately, in the past year, Assistance League’s members have also responded quickly by providing Starting Over Supplies (SOS kits) for newly arrived refugees, containing basic housekeeping supplies, personal grooming items and other provisions tailored to meet their immediate needs. For the past year, over 124 SOS kits were distributed to IRC refugee families alone.
“To us, IRC and the other agencies we work with all do just such good work; we just see a new need in the community and try to fill it as best we can,” affirms Jane. What she declares is simply put, just like their slogan: “Volunteers… Working Together for Tucson”. Because of its vision and recognition of the Tucson, refugee community, hundreds of families have received the critical aid and the boost they need to develop into contributing members of the community.
Written by: Brittany Schilling, Development Associate