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Jefferson Award Winner, Woman Collects Household Items For Refugees

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OMAHA (FOX 42 KPTM) -- Hannah Wyble found her calling before most people. She was only 16 and was a volunteer for the Salvation Army.

"We had an influx of Sudanese refugees coming in at that time," Wyble recalls. Since then, she's held refugee causes close to her heart. "Personally, I'm always asking myself what do I want to do with my life, and I feel like this is something that the universe is sending my way," she said.

There was one girl she mentored during her time with the Salvation Army who passed away after she left the program. Wyble said she went to visit the family to pay her condolences. That's when she noticed the entire home had very little inside of it. There were only two light bulbs and she watched the children unscrew them so they could bring light to another room. "I just asked her what can we do to help her get through this difficult moment?" Wyble said.

She said at first she only wanted to clean their carpets, since they had a lot of company in the days following the girl's death. Wyble said she set up a website asking for other donations, and the items came flooding through the door.

"It just took off! People started donating all sorts of items for this family. At the end of the project we had twice as much furniture as we had asked for," she said. More and more people started referring her to families in similar situations who needed basic household items.

Four years and nineteen families later, Wyble said she found her calling within an organization she founded, "Restoring Dignity." Every Saturday she opens up the storage building as people come to donate various items. This isn't Wyble's only commitment as she has a full-time job, volunteers with her church and is a mom to two young boys. But, she said despite the full schedule, there's nothing else she would rather do.

"If I were to stop right now, I almost feel like that'd be a crime because so many people have come together to do something good and I think it's really hard to do that," Wyble said.

To donate items or sign up to volunteer for 'Restore Dignity' click here.


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