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Omaha volunteer group to end work because of dwindling funds

A volunteer group that has served the Omaha area for more than 35 years says it is ending its efforts.

The Heartland Council of Pioneers/Volunteers, originally started by AT&T workers at the old Millard Western Electric plant near 120th and L Streets, said its funds donated by corporate sponsors are running out.

Jacob’s House, a separate volunteer organization, will handle some of the group’s projects before all funds run dry, officials said.

The Heartland Council produced more than 35,000 Hug-a-Bears and thousands of handmade items, such as quilts, knitted hats, scarves, mittens and booties along with saddle bags for walkers, pet blankets and afghans, officials said. All of the items were donated to children in stress, hospitals and other groups.

The Heartland Council was recognized two years ago by Serve Nebraska as the Volunteer Group of the Year.

Volunteers with the organization will continue to support charitable initiatives, such as bell-ringing for the Salvation Army, officials said.

The Heartland Council’s many efforts included painting roughly 20-by-30-foot U.S. maps on school playgrounds. The organization said it would donate two U.S. map templates to any group willing to take up the painting project. Contact WolkinsBob@yahoo.com for more information.