This week marks the 125th Anniversary of the United Way program in America, and I want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the great work being done by the organizations here in Nebraska. There are 17 United Way organizations throughout the state working tirelessly to improve the lives of those around them.
For the past 125 years, United Way has mobilized resources and community volunteers to identify and meet the needs of the communities they serve. Thanks to the leadership of local United Way organizations, our communities are better able to address serious social issues.
The programs they support help those experiencing hunger, domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, and many more challenges. United Way organizations in Nebraska provide leadership and a helping hand throughout the state by supporting local charities like Big Pals, Little Pals; TeamMates; Teens for Christ; Center for Survivors; senior centers, and other worthwhile programs.
I've had the privilege of working with United Way and the agencies they support during my time in public office and have seen firsthand the successes achieved by this organization right here in Nebraska. I couldn't be more proud of their work for our fellow Nebraskans.
United Way of Western Nebraska, for example, just last week held its annual "Day of Caring," in which almost 100 community volunteers participated in more than a dozen community improvement projects. These volunteers spent the day assisting five nonprofits in the Scottsbluff area. The chapter will soon begin their "Stuff the Bus" campaign, which solicits school supply donations from individuals within the community to give to children whose families cannot afford to purchase their own supplies. "Stuff the Bus" filled 150 backpacks last year, helping many Western Nebraska children experience a more successful school year.
A similar "Day of Action" is held annually in the Omaha area. Last year, approximately 300 volunteers joined United Way of the Midlands to work on dozens of community improvement projects throughout the Omaha metro area. United Way of the Midlands also hosts the state's 211 Call Center. The call center, which serves all of Nebraska's 93 counties, serves as a hotline for anyone in need of assistance -- whether it's a warm meal or help with disaster services -- just by dialing 211. This program answered more than 77,000 questions from Nebraskans in need of assistance last year.
So, from Scottsbluff to Omaha and nearly every community in between, it's an honor to have worked with United Way organizations in Nebraska and a privilege to mark this week by thanking them and their selfless volunteers who contribute time, talent and financial resources to improve Nebraska communities. I wish all of the United Way offices in Nebraska and across the nation another 125 years of success in their mission to serve others.