Restoring Dignity #21
Saturday, August 20th, 2016
“…I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you made me your guest, I needed clothes and you provided them, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me…”
Four years ago, a widowed Karen mother and her 4 year old daughter were relocated to the United States after spending 13 years in a Thailand refugee camp. After fleeing her home in Burma in 1999 due to the raging civil war, the mother married a fellow Karen refugee in her camp. Four months into the marriage, her husband tragically passed away- leaving her to give birth and raise their daughter alone. Upon being relocated to the United States, the mother remarried and gave birth to a beautiful baby boy – a symbol of hope for the family as they rebuilt their lives. However, around their son’s one year birthday, he became deathly ill and was rushed to the hospital, where the doctors diagnosed him with a rare condition called Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis (HLH). Her son was transferred from Omaha to a hospital in Ohio and spent 8 months there.
Upon first arriving to the hospital, the family was informed that their son would likely pass away within a week. The mother would not believe the prognosis, and using her medical training as a medic in Burma, she began nursing her son back to health. Within two weeks he went from his death bed to recovery. During this time, the hospital had many beautiful, professional pictures taken of the son and his family – pictures that the mother holds on to today and would like framed and displayed in their home. After her son became medically stable and was placed on a new research-trial drug, he was able to come back with his family to their home in Omaha. The doctors have told the mother that her son’s future is unknown- the trial drug that he is on is working for now, but if it fails he might need a bone marrow transplant. Still, the mother is hopeful, and spends her days caring for her son.
When asked about her wishes, she says that she would like to someday continue her work as a medic in the United States. With language as a current barrier, she attends weekly English classes. Her husband works full-time and is able to provide for the basic necessities of shelter, food, and transportation for the family. However, their home is lacking in many items, including beds, dressers, a couch, and shelving. The medical crisis with their son has significantly impeded their ability to financially afford these items.
Restoring Dignity heard about this family and their needs and decided to take action. On Saturday, August 20th, 2016 we will bringing them much needed household items. We also want to transform the son’s bedroom and outdoor play area into an oasis of healing. Join us by donating items, volunteering, and spreading the word about this family and how we are going to support them as they rebuild their life here in America.
We are taking action on Saturday, August 20th, 2016 from 10am-6pm, to provide this family with much needed household, cleaning and organizational items. Come join us to bring hope, encouragement, and blessings to them!
Kitchen towels Cooking utensils Clock Silverware Wash rags Plates Bowls Small, electric pan/table top grill Kitchen rug Broom w/ dust pan Large plastic air-tight container (to store rice) Plastic storage bags (quart size bags, freezer gallon bags, sandwich bags) Garbage bags Saran wrap Aluminum foil Cutting board Mop Mop bucket Drawer and cupboard liners Bulletin board Tupperware Shelving unit for kitchen pantry
Towels (full, hand, and face) (4) toothbrushes Toothbrush holder Toothpaste Over-the-toilet storage unit/shelf Toilet paper Hand soap Shampoo (adult and kids) Lotion Bath rug Shower curtain & liner Shower curtain rings (4) loofahs (4) bathroom shower caddies (2) Deodorant Toilet brush Feminine pads Medium size trash can Baby bath toys Diapers (size 5) Narrow bathroom shelf (to fit along wall between door and sink)
(3) twin mattresses (new or gently used) (1) bunk bed frame (4) new pillows Toy chest (3) twin size plastic zippered plastic bed bug proof mattress protector *(must be “bed bug” proof) (3) twin washable mattress pads (200) hangers (2) Hanging shoe racks Small nightstand New underwear New socks Small trash can Small make-up desk for 8 year old girl Mirror (2) Dressers Little table Small bookshelf Books appropriate for 8 and 3 year old children Kid decorations Toys for children
Queen mattress & box spring (2) Hanging shoe racks (2) dressers (1) bookshelf (1) queen size plastic zippered plastic bed bug proof mattress protector *(must be “bed bug” proof) (1) queen size washable mattress protector pad (1) set queen sheets (new or gently used) (4) new pillows Small nightstand Small desk lamp (100) hangers (2) laundry baskets (heavy-duty)
- Tall, narrow hallway table (like a buffet table)
(2) sets of shelves to fit in the closet (closet is large)
- Rug to cover floor in hallway
Couch (something easy to clean, if possible, per the mother’s request)
- TV black box (so the family can watch local TV)
(4) chairs Dining room table Computer chair
- Computer/homework desk
(1) paper organizer (for bills) (1) picture album Picture frames (2) bookshelves Floor lamp DVD player
- Computer tower (their computer tower is very old and is starting to break)
Large shoe holder/shelf
- Outdoor table (with umbrella, if possible)
- Patio chairs
- Outdoor playground set (slide, swings, etc.)
Gardening tools Fence for the garden
- (3) gardening poles to hold up plants
The mother would like a full-body mirror in her bedroom The father would like a large, soft towel The 3 year old boy loves anything Spider Man and likes the color green The 8 year old girl likes the color blue, and would like a doll house and a doll
Bathroom cleaner Degreaser (Mr. Clean, non-ammonia) Bleach Boxes of gloves (disposable and non-disposable) Windex Dawn dish soap Toilet bowl cleaner Carpet cleaning solution Magic erasers Light bulbs (40W to 100W and several 3-way bulbs) Batteries (double AA, triple AAA)
Restoring Dignity Needs
Truck to transport larger items to the family’s apartment on Saturday, August 20th, 2016 Lunch for afternoon and all-day volunteers (pizza, sandwiches, etc.)
- Quality tall step ladder (to access items on the storage shelves)
Storage totes with lids
- Someone to help with the disposal of unusable and broken items via a truck/trailer to appropriate facility
There are two ways to drop-off items: (1) At our new storage unit, or (2) on the day of the project at the family’s home. If you plan on dropping off donations at the family’s home, please contact us for their address, and plan on having all items dropped off between 10am-11am, the day of the project.
Store Unit Location:
The Restoring Dignity storage unit is located in the garages behind the Omar Baking Building (4383 Nicholas St. Omaha, NE, 68131–the storage unit is in a fenced-in lot on the corner of 45th and Izard street.
Drop-offs at the storage unit will be on the following dates and times:
Saturday, July 30th, 2016 10:00am-12:00pm
Saturday, August 6th, 2016 10:00am-12:00pm
Saturday, August 13th, 2016 10:00am-1:00pm
**Please note that there will not be any pick-ups for this project. If you are bringing large items, you can drop them off at the location mentioned above, or you can bring them the day of the project. Many apologies for this inconvenience.**
Schedule of the Weekend:
Saturday, August 20th, 2016
There are multiple shifts available:
- Pre-Shift: Saturday, August 13th 2016 10am-1pm: This shift involves getting donations ready for the project date. At the Restoring Dignity Storage Unit.
- On the project date (Saturday, August 20th, 2016):
- Shift one: 10am-12pm : This shift is for people who want to help with cleaning, organizing clothes, steaming, carpet cleaning, & fixing items.
- Shift two: 12pm-2pm: This shift is for people who want to help with cleaning, organizing clothes, steaming, carpet cleaning, and building items.
- Shift three: 2pm-4pm: This shift is for those who can help move furniture into the apartment, build, & decorate.
- Shift four: 4pm-6pm: This shift is for those who would like to help decorate, arrange furniture, hang pictures, etc.
- Half-Day: 10am-2pm: This shift is for someone who would like to have a Restoring Dignity immersion.
- Half-Day: 2pm-6pm: This shift is for someone who would like to have a Restoring Dignity immersion.
- Full Day: 10am-6pm: This shift is for someone who is looking for a full-immersion with Restoring Dignity.
- Handyperson shift (anytime between 10am-6pm): This shift is for a person who is skilled with tools, can help fix broken items in the home, can assemble beds and other furniture, and can hang pictures.
- Photographer shift: This shift is for someone who can bring their own professional camera and can take pictures throughout the course of the day
- Post-shift: Saturday, September 10th, 10am-12pm. This shift involves putting away all donations and items not used on the project date. Also includes a quick re-organizing of the storage unit.
Sign up for shifts can be found at the Restoring Dignity Sign-Up Page.
How to Get Involved:
- Donate items:
We could not do these projects without our donors! They are the heart of these projects! Please let us know what you can donate, and we will take the items off of the list above. If someone would like to “adopt” a member of this family or a room in the apartment, by fulfilling the donations needed for that area, let us know. Otherwise, if you have any items in your house that you no longer need or use, please consider donating them to these projects. Your donations truly do make a direct impact on families in need. To donate items to this family, visit our volunteer and donation sign up page.
- Donate gift cards
On the day of our projects, we often run low on basic cleaning supplies, hardware for hanging curtains, light bulbs, paper towels, toilet paper, and plastic bed wraps to keep down bed bug populations, among other items. Gift cards to major home stores or hardware stores (Target, Walmart, Lowes, Home Depot, etc) are greatly appreciated and help to bridge the supply gap on project days. Contact Hannah (email@example.com) or (402) 305-8139, if you are interested in donating a gift card. If you would like to mail a gift card, please address it to: Restoring Dignity c/o Hannah Wyble, 3505 Hawthorne Avenue, Omaha, NE, 68131.
- Donate via check
Restoring Dignity has recently merged and become a program under Southern Sudan Community Association (SSCA), a non-profit refugee resettlement agency. Tax-deductible donations can be made to Restoring Dignity via SSCA. Checks can be mailed to:
SSCA c/o Restoring Dignity
3610 Dodge Street, Suite 100
Omaha NE 68131
Restoring Dignity is ran by volunteers, so 100% of all donations go directly to our projects.
For this project, we need a minimum of 50 volunteers, ideally 60 volunteers, spaced out over the course of the day. Our volunteers will clean, organize, steam bed bugs in mattresses and in corners, and decorate. The more volunteers, the faster we can accomplish our goal. We would love to have you join our team! Please visit our Restoring Dignity Sign-Up Page to add yourself to one of our two hour shifts. If you would like to help for a half or full-day, that option is also available.
- Mentor a refugee family
Did you know that hundreds of refugee families are resettled in Omaha every year? If each of them had an American family who could provide mentorship for at least one year, many of the issues that Restoring Dignity steps in to help with could be avoided. If you are interested in mentoring a refugee family (including this one!), contact Southern Sudan Community Association, as they have a mentoring program that is in need of many American volunteers: http://sscaomaha.info/volunteer-opportunities/.
- Spread the word:
Tell your friends and family about this project! They might have an extra lamp or a dresser that is no longer in use. Re-post this blog on your Facebook page, or email it to people you know. The more people that know about these projects, the more donations and volunteers.
Follow us on Facebook:
Restoring Dignity has a Facebook Group that is regularly updated. Please join our group: Restoring Dignity Omaha Facebook Group.
Director, Restoring Dignity
Call or text:
- Email: RestoringDignity@live.com