Chesney Guest Column: May we be blessings to our neighbors this Thanksgiving Season

Our shared Northwest Illinois values encourage us to be blessings to our neighbors this Thanksgiving Season.

Living in Northwest Illinois during the Holiday Season is really something special. For many of us, it means family draws near. If we have blessings of our own, many of us look for opportunities to share those blessings with others.

There are so many ways to help: Picking up groceries or supplies for a neighbor in need, visiting a friend or loved on in a nursing home after it’s been so long for them without visitors, donating to organizations doing so much for those in need, and even just sharing our holiday celebrations with those who may not have traditions of their own.

Last week was National Hunger & Homeless Awareness Week casting our attention to those who need a hand up after having fallen on hard times. I recently participated in the WREX Freeport Food Drive at Cornerstone Credit Union to benefit Freeport Area Church Cooperative’s exemplary efforts in our community. The need is universal and year-round for our food and supply pantries, and conditions are most difficult during the coming winter for those who are homeless or have housing security concerns. If you can help your local food pantry, I know the help is needed and appreciated.

If you don’t have extra funds this season, but would still like to help, there is a wonderful program being run by the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs called Operation Rising Spirit. The campaign challenges service organizations, volunteers, and patriots of Illinois to raise the spirits of military veterans and the heroic staff who care for them every day at state veterans’ homes in Anna, LaSalle, Manteno, and Quincy, Illinois by sending a holiday message to residents. Notes can be sent electronically at the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs website or via traditional cards or letters sent to: The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Central Office, 833 South Spring Street, P.O. Box 19432, Springfield, IL 62794-9432. You don’t have to know a hero to thank a hero and make their holiday season brighter.

There is so much need this season and so many ways to help our neighbors this holiday season. I want to wish you all a festive season of Thanksgiving service to others as we lean into a Holiday season with many blessings of faith, family and freedoms for which to be grateful.

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State Representative Andrew Chesney advocates on behalf of the 89th District in Illinois. As a legislator, his policy priorities include cutting taxes, creating jobs, and government accountability and transparency. Learn more at RepChesney.com.