Assistance League of Rancho San Dieguito looks to expand local reach

The Flowers for Seniors program is one of the chapter’s latest initiatives.

After years of being a “best-kept secret” in North County, the Assistance League’s Rancho San Dieguito chapter wants to raise its profile.

“My focus this year is to improve our visibility within the community,” said Joy Lappe, who got involved with the chapter in 2012 and is serving her first year as president.

The Assistance League is a national nonprofit with chapters all over the country with more than 20,000 volunteers. Each one works to address the various needs in each of their communities.

The Rancho San Dieguito chapter recently completed part of its Operation School Bell program, which partners with local stores to provide low-income elementary students in North County cities, including Encinitas, Solana Beach and Del Mar, with school supplies and clothes. More Operation School Bell events will be held in the spring for middle school and preschool students.

The chapter also has an Adult Survivors Kit program that provides clothing to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. It has provided 4,839 assault survivor kits since 1998.

“These people often have to give up their clothes as evidence,” Lappe said.

Among its newer programs, Flowers for Seniors delivers flower arrangements to local seniors and assisted living facilities. The organization also began providing scholarships to high school students. Others include a preschool English literacy program, which provides tutoring for math and reading; Knifty Knitters, which sends hand-knitted items to newborns and military personnel; Kuddles for Kids, which has provided more than 10,000 teddy bears to children facing traumatic life events; and Jeans for Teens, which helps provide clothing and food for homeless teens.

“I feel like I’m back to work almost,” Lappe said, adding that she spends about 20 hours every week working for the Assistance League.

She said group members will start attending local city council and school board meetings to start more relationships with local leaders, and to learn more about the needs of the North County Communities they serve.

The Assistance League has 57 chapters throughout California, according to its national website, including multiple chapters throughout San Diego County.

“I don’t like to think of them as competition,” she said. “They serve their communities and we serve ours.”

The Rancho San Dieguito chapter has grown financially from about $55,000 in total revenue in 2002 to more than $300,000 in 2017, the group’s financial disclosures show.

The chapter also operates a thrift shop at 1542 Encinitas Blvd. For more information, visit