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State Honoree

Anne Wignall

Iowa

Anne Wignall, 12, of Newton, Iowa, a seventh-grader at B.C. Berg Middle School, is the founder and director of Care Bags Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides “care bags” filled with donated books, toys and toiletry items to abused, displaced and disadvantaged children. It all began when Annie’s mother, a child abuse prevention educator, told her about the sadness in some children’s lives. “I’ve always loved kids, and hope to be a teacher someday, so I decided to do something to make their lives easier,” said Annie. She contacted local human services agencies to present her care-bag idea, recruited youth and women’s groups to sew the bags, and approached Iowa businesses to donate toothbrushes, shampoo, crayons, stuffed animals and other items. Annie fills 30-50 care bags every month, encloses handmade cards and poems to give them a personal touch, and then distributes them through agencies and organizations that care for kids in crisis. As word of Annie’s organization has spread, donations have expanded, and interest from organizations in need of care bags has increased significantly. To date, Annie has distributed over 600 care bags through 13 agencies serving needy children in more than 50 Iowa towns, and has recruited others to start care bag programs in their communities.