Restoring Dignity #18
Saturday, November 7th, 2015
“…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…”
******Before & after video is at the bottom of this page******
Six year ago, a Karen family of six left a Thailand refugee camp and were relocated to the United States of America. Prior to their relocation, they spent 19 years of their lives in the camps, after the civil war in Burma expelled them from their home. In 2012, they moved from Kentucky to Omaha, Nebraska and life started looking up. The father obtained full-time employment, the children did well in school, and they welcomed their fourth child, a baby girl in July 2015. They even saved up enough money for a small down payment on a house, and were in the process of searching for a new place to call home. On July 29th, 2015, however, everything changed as their 11 year old son was involved in a horrific explosive accident that was no fault of their own. Upon arrival to the hospital he was taken to a critical care burn unit, where they discovered that 40% of his body had been severely burned. During this same time, the family was forced to leave their apartment, as the fire had caused significant damage in their home. They are currently living at a friend’s house, while their son is in the hospital and is undergoing multiple skin grafts.
Due to the severity of the son’s burns, which cover the entire left side of his body, foot to ear, he is not able to come home to an environment where he is at risk of being bit by bed bugs. The bites could infect his healing skin, and could compromise his health. This family, along with many other impoverished households, has struggled with bed bugs. In Omaha, there is a bed bug epidemic among many poverty stricken homes. The cost of eliminating these infestations is high, and many landlords have told their tenants that they are responsible for the cost of treatment. Due to the prohibitive cost, many families are forced to suffer the infestation, with no hope of a reprieve. For the landlords that do offer assistance, it is difficult to get an infestation under control. Unless there is 100% cooperation from all tenants, it is nearly impossible to completely eradicate bed bug populations.
Last month, this family was informed by their financial institution that they have been approved to purchase a home. This news could not have come at a better time, as their son can on no terms live in a home with bed bugs. Moving into a house, instead of a low-income apartment, will mean that they can bring him to an environment where he can heal properly. While this is incredible news for the family, they are not able to bring any of their possessions with them, for fear of bringing along bed bugs. Restoring Dignity heard about their tragic situation and has decided to take action by supplying their home with the household items they need to start over. This is an opportunity for the people of Omaha to rise up and help a family that is in desperate need, after tragedy destroyed the life they once knew. Join us on Saturday, November 7th, 2015 by donating items, by volunteering, and by spreading the word about this family and how we are going to support them during this difficult time.
We are taking action on Saturday, November 7th, 2015 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!
Please sign-up for items you will donate on our sign-up page.
20 cup or larger rice cooker Kitchen towels Cooking utensils Clock Silverware Wash rags 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
Towels (full, hand, and face) (6) toothbrushes Toothbrush holder Toothpaste Toilet paper Hand soap Shampoo (adult and kids) Lotion Bath rug Shower curtain & liner (6) loofahs (6) bathroom shower caddies (6) Deodorant Toilet brush Feminine pads
(3) twin mattresses *new only, to protect from possible bed bugs in used mattresses (1) full or queen bed (mattress, boxsprings, frame) *new only, to protect from possible bed bugs in used mattresses (1) twin bed frame (1) bunk bed frame
(1) crib with mattress *new mattress only, to protect from possible bed bugs in used mattresses (3) twin size plastic zippered plastic bed bug proof mattress protectors *(must be “bed bug” proof) (1) full size plastic zippered bed bug proof mattress protector *(must be “bed bug” proof) (4) dressers (150) hangers (12) new pillows ($3 at Target or Walmart) (3) Hanging shoe racks (1) computer/homework desk (1) computer chair Pictures for the rooms/decorations (12) pillow cases (3) twin sheets (1) full sheets (3) twin bed spreads (1) full bed spread New underwear: All members of the family (dad: men’s medium, mom: women’s medium, 11 y/o boy: boys’ large, 7 y/o girl: girl’s medium, 5 y/o girl: girl’s small) New socks: All members of the family (3) floor lamps (2) book shelf (3) mirrors (3) small nightstands (3) Curtains
Couch Dining room tables with chairs Television DVD player Shoe rack Decorations (pictures, figurines, picture frames) (1) paper organizer (for bills) (1) picture album Vacuum Picture frames
We want to make the 11 year old boy’s room a special place where he can recover and begin to rebuild his life, post-accident. Per the family, he likes superheroes, so we would like to decorate his room super hero par excellence. We also want to provide him with other items like building materials (Legos, etc.), books, and perhaps even a gaming system, as he might be home bound for a while until he is healed. The mom asked for a few things for their two-month baby girl: baby walker, baby toys, baby books, diapers (size 2), and clothing (size 4-6 months).
- The dad asked for the following items so that he can take care of the outside of the house: ladder,
lawn mower, clippers, snow shovel. The mom is open to receiving clothing for herself (she wears a women’s medium, pant size 8). The 7 y/o girl is asking for clothes, size girl’s medium. The 5 y/o girl is asking for clothes, size girl’s small. The 5 and 7 y/o girls would like girl toys like barbies and horses, and children’s books.
- Water dispenser
- Bicycles for the three older children (
11 y/o boy, 7 y/o girl, 5 y/o girl) The dad asked for basic tools so that he can fix things around the home
Bathroom cleaner Degreaser (Mr. Clean) Bleach Boxes of gloves (disposable and non-disposable) Windex Dawn dish soap Toilet bowl cleaner Carpet cleaning solution Magic erasers Light bulbs
Restoring Dignity Needs
Truck to transport larger items to the family’s apartment on Saturday, November 7th, 2015 Lunch for afternoon and all-day volunteers (pizza, sandwiches, etc.)
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.
Map of Restoring Dignity Storage Unit
Drop-offs at the storage unit will be on the following dates and times:
Saturday, October 10th 10:00am-Noon
Saturday, October 17th 10:00am-Noon
Saturday, October 24th 10:00am-Noon
**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, November 7th, 2015
There are multiple shifts available:
- 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
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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: 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:
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.
Volunteer Director, Restoring Dignity Omaha
Call or text:
- Email: RestoringDignity@live.com (emails are usually answered on Fridays)
Before & After Video