Catholic Social Services of Southern Nebraska (CSS,, was the winner of a 2023 Sustainability Award by the Keep Nebraska Beautiful organization. CSS was given the award in the “Civic/Non-Profit Organization” category for its strong emphasis on sustainability, aiming not only to generate funds for its vital services aimed at helping the poor and marginalized, but also to be responsible environmental stewards.

“Our goal is to extend the lifecycle of donations to our four thrift stores throughout southern Nebraska,” said Katie Patrick, Executive Director of CSS. “We do this through regifting, reselling or recycling them and therefore mitigating the potential of items ending up in the landfill.” The thrift stores are located in Lincoln, Auburn, Hastings and Imperial, NE.

“From October 2022 to June 2023, CSS recycled 88.5 tons of clothing, 8.5 tons of shoes and two tons of purses and belts,” said Patrick. She explained that when donors contribute clothing, for example, CSS evaluates the items’ condition. Wearable clothing is either distributed directly to clients in need or sold in the thrift stores, with all proceeds supporting CSS programs.

CSS is a nonprofit organization that has been around for nearly a century helping people in need of all backgrounds and faiths across 24,000 square miles of southern Nebraska. CSS programs include Family Support Services, providing crucial financial assistance; the St. Gianna Program, offering support to survivors of domestic violence and those facing crisis pregnancies; Food Market and Meal Services; Refugee Resettlement; Immigration Legal Services; and Employment Services. CSS can be found at