Lincoln Thanksgiving traditions for families and businesses

Published: Nov. 25, 2021 at 9:02 PM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Thanksgiving is all about traditions, whether that tradition is eating, watching T.V., sleeping, and sometimes even going for a run before hitting up the big meal. For others, their Thanksgiving traditions include giving of their time and talents to make sure no one goes hungry this turkey day

Downtown at Rutabagas’s Comfort Food volunteers are serving up plates for their 2nd Annual Friendsgiving. “Nobody should be alone on Thanksgiving,” said Sarah McArdle, Rutabaga’s owner.

McArdle said they planned to serve more than 100 people. It was a free-will donation with all the money going back to the food bank. It was also a plant-based meal.

“We also think it’s important that there’s a plant-based Thanksgiving dinner opportunity for those in our community,” said McArdle.

At the People’s City Mission, they’ve been serving a Thanksgiving meal since 1907 according to Pastor Tom.

“Over the years I’ve realized just how important Thanksgiving is to people in need,” said Pastor Tom. “When you don’t have money when you have no way to do it... Watching other people celebrate and not be able to do it yourself can be demoralizing.”

The Mission tallied 62 turkeys served to 600 people. They’re also starting a tradition where people write what they’re thankful for and it goes up on the wall.

“When you’re down on your luck it really helps build your esteem and it feels like you can get back on your feet,” said Pastor Tom.

Closing out the evening at Matt Talbot Kitchen & Outreach where one family has made serving on Thanksgiving a tradition for two decades.

“We do the fourth Thursday of every month and as you know the fourth Thursday in November is Thanksgiving,” said Greg Harrison, MTKO volunteer. “(Since) 2000 we’ve been doing Thanksgiving dinner.”

For the Harrison’s it’s a nine-hour day from prep, serving, and then clean up, but they wouldn’t want to spend it any other way.

“We like doing it so much and our kids like doing it so much that most of our kids have grown up doing Matt Talbot Kitchen & Outreach,” said Harrison. “We’ve had them in their bassinets rocking them back there while we’re serving guests. It’s just rewarding.”

Many of the volunteers said they didn’t expect volunteering on Thanksgiving to become a tradition. They signed up one year, enjoyed it so much, and now it’s part of their family’s routine.

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