Wins for Kansas: Assistance League of Wichita

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WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

For more than 30 years, a group in Wichita quietly has been helping some of the city's most vulnerable people. You can find it at work at the corner of Douglas and North Grove, a corner with all kinds of treasures.

"The majority of everything we have in the store is donated by individuals," Ruth Ann Koepsel said. She's one of dozens of volunteers that help with the Assistance League of Wichita. A thrift store helps raise money for the group's four unique programs.

Koepsel, who serves as Vice President of Philanthropic Programs, says it's "absolutely" rewarding. "I'm a retired teacher, and I heard about Operation School Bell because i had students who helped."

Operation School Bell helps low-income parents to clothe their children. But other programs are not as high-profile.

"In 1984, we had a group called the Needle Guild," President Judy Zimbelman recalled. "These women would watch newborn babies at the hospital and they would knit hats for them."

From that relationship with the hospital, the newly-formed group started helping the countless victims who came the emergency rooms saying they'd been abused or sexually assaulted.

"We have four philanthropic programs that we support," Zimbelman said. "Every dollar from the thrift stores goes to those programs."

Because of the group's immense generosity, our partners at Wins for Kansas wanted to give them something. DeVaughn James Injury Lawyers presented a $500 grant.

The Assistance League of Wichita has a "Do Si Dough" fundraiser planned on May 4. Find out more by clicking here.

Check out these photos from across KAKEland snapped by our viewers, staff and local officials. Do you have a photo to share with us? Email it to news@kake.com.

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