Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Remembering the Receiving, and Now Doing The Giving: The Scary Mommy Thanksgiving Project

Last year, Jill Smokler, of ScaryMommy, gathered her Scary Mommy Nation together, and more than 400 families in need were able to celebrate with a Thanksgiving meal they would have otherwise gone without. Over $20,000 was raised and the effort garnered international attention, appearing on Good Morning America, Nightline, the homepages of Yahoo, Huffington Post and more. That was the success of The Scary Mommy Thanksgiving Project

This year, 25 families are wait listed and 931 families have been adopted, with almost $45,000.00 in donations now raised. But we need to move fast, Thanksgiving is almost here.

A $50 gift card to their local grocery store to buy the makings for a Thanksgiving dinner will be mailed two weeks before Thanksgiving to allow these families in need ample time to shop for and prepare their holiday dinner. It's almost time to get these cards out.

My children have grown up with full kitchen cabinets, and in my entire life as a mother, I have been so very fortunate that I have never had to worry about not having enough to eat on a holiday. Especially on Thanksgiving, when the nation celebrates with a table ready to buckle from the enormity of the feast.

But, as a child growing up and with parents new to this country, mine was a family with many small children, and one working single parent. Through the generosity of our church, we always received a food basket for Thanksgiving. I can still see it: a frozen turkey, boxes of cake mix, instant potatoes, pudding, cans of sweet potatoes, green beans and corn, ready made rolls and bags of stuffing mix.

I was so grateful, we were all so grateful, every year when that basket was walked into our house. My grandmother and mother were moved to tears of appreciation. When the church people rang our bell and delivered the basket, we were left speechless with gratitude. I had a wish back then, of one day being someone who could do the same -- deliver a basket of food to a family.

I want to do everything I can to get a family their meal. I've been in those shoes, and I still remember the joy of receiving the baskets. The clapping, the smiles, the light as air feeling that we'd be having a full holiday meal, that we'd be with -- rather than without.

It's so important to break the stereotype of people not having things because they don't work. My mother worked three jobs, but recently widowed with six children in a country new to her... we were lucky our bills were paid for essentials, much less the extras that holidays bring. And the holiday gift of a food basket, well... it spoke volumes of the kindness of others, and how the poor are not forgotten.

Now that I am able to help, it is me who feels so very fortunate, to be able to do the giving with a joyful heart.

I'm in. I will spread the word of The Scary Mommy Thanksgiving Project, powered by the Scary Mommy Nation, because I still remember having been one of 'those people' that needed a compassionate hand. With Scary Mommy's Community, we got this. We can feed these families. One family at a time.

Through The Thanksgiving Project, we have a beautiful opportunity to be in the fortunate position, of giving. We can be the light in the tunnel for so many in darkness right now.

How about paying it forward and helping others in need as a gift to each other this year? Involve your children, sit them on your lap and show them what you, as a family, are going to do for another family, and let them feel how good that feels. Explain that just because we aren't in need doesn't mean others aren't in need. Begin to model generosity and goodwill and the bliss of peace that comes from sharing what we have, it's a lesson they'll imitate into adulthood.

And to Scary Mommy and her army? Please keep doing what you're doing. Because this grown woman here is forever grateful for all that she was given, through the generosity of others. 

I love this program so much because of the joy I remember as a little girl when a basket brought into our living room, giving my family the assurance that their Thanksgiving table would be laden with the spirit of love from others. Yes, children know when something kind has come their way.

I'm happy I'm the one able to give now. Thank you for continuing this, Jill and everyone. It’s a tremendous undertaking, but it's what keeps us human and responsible for one another. It is so very good. 

A $50 gift card means the world to a family right now, and it makes Thanksgiving possible.

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And if you’re in a position to give a little extra this season, please do… DETAILS HERE or

You can also mail a check to:
Scary Mommy
PO Box 20866
Baltimore MD 21209

You can also like Scary Mommy Nation on Facebook and share this post.

Here’s to a wonderful Thanksgiving, for not just a few, but all of us!

"100% of your donation will go to a family in need, and we will share as much information about “your” family as they are comfortable providing. Give $50 to support a whole family, or we’ll partner your donation – whatever it is – with other donors. Every dollar counts, so please give what you can."


  1. Truth, right now I would be one on the waiting list. But I did not sign up and I won't. Because I know there are so many who have it worse than us right now. We will make do. But I know that darkness. I know that need and I know the joy of giving back. I have taught my children that basic and it seems to sink in most days. I will tweet and share this until I am blue in the face. The greatest gift is to be a giver, period.

  2. what an awesome project...
    there was a day when we could have needed the help
    and had given to i def appreciate...

  3. Yes, Brian and southern Angel... seems like there are points in our lives, where kindness is the thing that keeps our heads above water.

  4. I love Jill's project so very much. I shared and donated, and will continue to support her and this wonderful initiative.

  5. I love imagining your family's joy in receiving, and love how you give back. We're tight on money this year, but will be handing out sandwiches to the homeless this Saturday. A group in our church does it every single week, but we usually can't because of teaching and the children's activities.



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