Diamondbacks 'Operation School Bell' bus brings school clothes to needy kids

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by Tami Hoey

azfamily.com

Posted on July 12, 2013 at 9:28 AM

Updated Monday, Jul 15 at 9:57 AM

PHOENIX -- The Arizona Diamondbacks are proving once again that they're not only players on the field, but in the community.

The team just awarded $100,000 to the Assistance League of Arizona to create a new project called "Operation School Bell Delivering Dreams Bus."

The bus is a mobile dressing center that will provide back-to-school clothing to more than 6,000 low-income children at select elementary schools in Phoenix.

"Seeing it come to life was a dream come true for us," says Debbie Castaldo of the Diamondbacks. "To serve kids in our community is just amazing."

The Assistance League of Arizona has been helping kids around the Valley for more than 50 years.

"For the Diamondbacks to partner with us on this initiative, and to be able to take Operation School Bell mobile, is amazing," says Aimee Runyon of the Assistance League of Arizona.

The bus will actually travel to the low-income schools. Kids will be able to use iPads as they wait in line to go shopping. Once in the heart of the bus they will be outfitted in brand new school uniforms.

"We have one in four children living in poverty in the greater Phoenix area," says Runyon. "We have many schools who have a difficult time getting to our center. So now we can take this directly to the schools. Kids can walk out in a brand new school uniform."

Outfits include shirts, pants, socks, underwear, and new shoes.

A volunteer seamstress is even on board to make alterations to any pants that don't quite fit. "We make sure that every child leaves with new clothes that actually fit," Runyon explains.

As a bonus, kids will also leave with a new book, and a Diamondbacks backpack.

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