November 17, 2023

Senator Ricketts’ Weekly Column:  Serving Others This Thanksgiving

November 17, 2023

As Americans, we’re fortunate to live in the greatest country in the history of the world. Thanksgiving provides us an opportunity each year to come together with loved ones to reflect and remember how blessed we are. We express gratitude for the successes of the past year and remember those who, through grit and determination, paved the way for us. We also reflect on the principles and values that have guided us throughout our lives. We have so much for which to be grateful. As Nebraskans, we’re blessed to live in a state that values family and faith, liberty and prosperity.

While we enjoy the blessings of liberty in abundance, let’s also remember those who are less fortunate. Acts of kindness and charity, whether in the form of a warm meal for a neighbor in need or a donation to a local charity, reflect the true spirit of the season. As usual, Nebraska leads the way with kind, generous people, quick to lend a hand to those in need.

According to Americorps, more than 506,000 Nebraskans formally volunteered 39.2 million hours of service through an organization in 2021. This contributed to $1.1 billion in economic value to our state. Many families have created new traditions, volunteering as a family at a local food pantry or organizing clothing drives at church.

In addition, 66.4% of Nebraskans informally helped others by exchanging favors with their neighbors, making Nebraska the 2nd best state in the nation for such assistance. Whether that volunteerism is delivering a hot meal for a new mom or salting the icy sidewalk of an elderly neighbor, these acts of service are particularly helpful for the many Nebraskans struggling with stress and sickness this holiday.

Sadly, stubbornly high inflation will continue to impact the food on your Thanksgiving table. The cost of russet potatoes is 14% higher than last year. Canned cranberries increased 60%. Canned pumpkins are up 30%. Canned green beans, used to make green bean casserole –  a staple dish of the Midwest – are up almost 9%. Sweet potatoes are up 4%. Thankfully, the avian flu (HPAI) that devastated turkey production last year and sent turkey prices soaring has improved. However, too many Nebraskans will still struggle to afford these inflated costs. I encourage every Nebraskan who can join me in giving back however possible. This year, I will join Open Door Mission in Omaha and People’s City Mission in Lincoln to serve hot meals to the homeless and hungry.

This Thanksgiving, let’s take time to remember what makes our great state and nation so exceptional. Let’s rededicate ourselves to serving our neighbor and those who are less fortunate than us. I am profoundly grateful to have the honor and privilege of serving the people of Nebraska in the United States Senate. Working together, we can ensure that this great legacy of service is passed down to those who will come after us. 

My team and I are here to serve you. Contact us anytime by phone at 202-224-4224 or on my website at www.ricketts.senate.gov/contact. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones!