The 2014 Thanksgiving Project: The Results

I have a confession to make, Scary Mommies: I doubted you.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been in a constant state of panic that we would not be able to raise all the money we needed to for this year’s Thanksgiving Project.

There are so many deserving causes these days, and times are tough for so many people.

Despite the constant stream of donations, the applications simply came in faster and we couldn’t keep up.

I started drafting apology e-mails and began to come to terms with the fact that everyone who applied for help simply could not receive it.

I just didn’t think we could do it…

But we did.


We were able to fulfill each and every application.

114,516 dollars raised in less than a month.

2,152 families who no longer have to worry about how to put Thanksgiving dinner on the table.


To every person who donated to the project or shared in any way, thank you.

Thank you for trusting the connections you’ve made on this website and believing that you can make a difference in the world. You did.

You should have received (or will shortly) an e-mail with “your” family. We’ve had some bounce backs and reports of e-mails ending up in spam, so if you haven’t received a letter by November 21 (for tax purposes, too!) please e-mail and she’ll get you the info right away.


Thank you to InteliSpend Prepaid Solutions who made the gift card fulfillment a breeze. They were a joy to work with and we can’t sing their praises loudly enough. They’ve earned our business for life.

Thank you to Nehemiah Manufacturing Co (they represent Boogie Wipes, Kandoo, Dreft and Downy Wrinkle Releaser) for their incredible social media effort. They went amazingly above and beyond!

Thank you to WhatsUpMoms for putting together the most amazing book trailer ever (proceeds go the the Thanksgiving Project.)

Thank you to Glennon (Momastery) Melton’s non-profit, Together Rising for their wonderful support. If you missed the opportunity to help with the Thanksgiving Project, please check out their equally amazing Holiday Hands effort.

Finally, thank you to AUL Corporation and SH International for their generosity.


A few personal thank you’s:

Thank you to my Scary Mommy’s Guide to Surviving The Holidays co-authors, who not only donated all of their book profits to the Thanksgiving Project, but adopted the cause wholeheartedly as well. You all are incredible and I’m so grateful to have you be a part of this!

Thank you to Callie, Sharon, Kristin and Jessica who oversee my message boards and have, once again, rallied the community to give.

Thank you to Samantha who helps me run the site and allows me to focus on Scary Mommy Nation entirely during October and November, and thank you to Charisse and Cris who oversee the Confessional, which started this whole movement.

Thank you, Julie, for taking this project on and keeping me (somewhat) sane, and thank you to the Scary Mommy Nation board for your time and dedication.

Finally, thank you to Mikki and Love, who help me with Scary Mommy year round, but during this project focus entirely on making Thanksgiving special for families in need. I am constantly inspired by your dedication, passion and heart. I could never do this without you.

Again, thank you to each and everyone of you for giving, sharing, and believing in this project even when I didn’t. I should have known better.

Here’s to a happy Thanksgiving for all of us.

About the writer


What started as an innocent on-line baby book to chronicle Jill Smokler’s stay-at-home days with her children, quickly transformed into a vibrant community of parents, brought together by a common theme: Parenting doesn’t have to be perfect. Welcome to Scary Mommy!


Noel 1 year ago

Thank you all so much for your generous giving, my family now has a complete Thanksgiving meal just waiting to be eaten!

Julie Neal 1 year ago

I didn’t know about your site till today, and when I went to apply it’s already over, i’m in desperate need can anyone help me and my daughter please thanks

Cheryl 1 year ago

Words cannot express how grateful I am. I literally cried when I opened the mail. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. It will be a blessed Thanksgiving after all. What you do is truly amazing and I hope that one day I will be a donor rather than a recipient. Again, Thank you!!!

s 1 year ago

Thank you from the bottom of my grumbling belly, my family will be able to have a great vegan Thanksgiving. Will donate my time for thanksgiving prep the day before to a local organization. Thanks again

Janie Gleave 1 year ago

I’ve been checking back for a few days to see if you had any extra slots for the Thanksgiving assistance. Please email if you can fit in one more family. I was never able to get into the sign-up. Thank you!

sad mom 1 year ago

Devastated that we tried multiple times a day and the application always said closed. Not sure how we are going to make it through the holidays. I hope that all the families approved enjoy this blessing.

Samantha 1 year ago

I tried to apply…but I was to late…sounds like a great program though…really need help

P. 1 year ago

Thank you for all y’alls support. I didn’t think I needed the help this year. Just found out, I do. :( It figures. I thought we’d be all good this year.

I pray everyone has a fulfilling Thanksgiving!

    P. 1 year ago

    (I missed the deadline to apply)

monika bigelow 1 year ago

Thank you soo much! I received the gift card in the mail today and I am so overwhelmed with your kindness, I cannot express to you enough , in words, the gratitude that I feel! I am also so relieved that our Thanksgiving dinner will be awesome with all the trimmings! Armed with this gift card and coupons!
Love all of you, you are all awesome!
Monika and family

H 1 year ago

The acceptance email brought tears to my eyes. Being able to provide a big happy meal means so much to me. We wouldn’t be able to do it without you & and your donations.

You’ll be on our prayer list this Thanksgiving. We are very grateful.

Tiffany Howell 1 year ago

Ty I got mine yesterday now trying to decided what ham to get

Veronica Brandenburg 1 year ago

This is our first year doing this and we just received our help today before thanksgiving now trying figure what store to go to lol

Charlene W 1 year ago

Today was my little personal Thanksgiving. I opened the mailbox and found an envelope from Scary Mommy Nation. For the first time in 5 (yes, 5) years, I will be able to put a real Thanksgiving meal on the table for my family. You see, we have a son with special needs and private insurance, so all our money goes to his care. For the first time this year I was brave enough to ask for help. For the first time I put my pride aside and stopped hurting myself to provide for my family. I would not eat, not refill my meds, go without so my family would have what they needed…just like so many of us Scary Mommies do. I’ve been doing it for so long, I have forgotten what normal is. Today, looking at that card with tears in my eyes I feel so grateful that I. too will be a part of Thanksgiving. That there will be enough for everyone, including me. Thank you so much, Scary Mommies, for making this mommy’s Thanksgiving one to remember for a long time. Sincerely, one grateful Mommy.

Cari 1 year ago

Just curious why it is closed if people are still willing to donate. I tried every day to submit an application and every day it said it was closed so that the donations could catch up with the applications. Oh well…great efforts by all. Happy holiday season! :)

Ro 1 year ago

This is the first year I donated (in celebration of having spent a year reading scarymommy) and I’m proud to have been a part of this huge effort! Well done.
Ps. I’m scottish, I don’t even know exactly when thanksgiving is, but I know it is important to gives thanks, and celebrate family.

Janie Gleave 1 year ago

Last year it filled up… but she had a few extra slots at the end and contacted us when she could help. I’m crossing my fingers that this year is the same.

Laura 1 year ago

Thank you does not begin to cover it…my family and I deeply appreciate the help and will be back next year to double what you helped us with, God willing!!

Kristin Figueroa 1 year ago

Jill, you are such an amazing woman! Every year, all the work you do to help so many families. You are truly appreciated. Glad you hear that you were able to help EVERY family that applied! Thank you.

Andrea 1 year ago

I am beyond thrilled to read this. So so happy.

I love this project so much and prioritize for it every year, well done, Scary Mommy Nation!

Lori Poe Wilburn 1 year ago

Thank you SOOOO much for this Thanksgiving blessing!! It was quite a surprise to receive it in the mail today! This will be so very helpful to our family!!

Emily Godwin 1 year ago

That’s amazing! Thank you Jill!

jen b 1 year ago

Because of the Thanksgiving project my family had a wonderful holiday last year. I could not be more happy to be in the position to donate this year. This is the most amazing thing for moms to get together and really make a significant difference in the lives of other moms. I’m so proud to be part of this community.

Alison 1 year ago

Congratulations Jill + team! This is a testament to the amazing community you’ve built, and I’m so proud to be amongst such good people.

Ellie Grossman Cohen 1 year ago

Bless you Jill Smokler. You inspire us all to do our part!

Susan Emery Douglas 1 year ago

Thank you ladies. What a wonderful vision; what a wonderful way for families (women) to support each other. Thanksgiving, even more than any other holiday, just feels less when you are doing without. It is purely about family sitting down together and that warm, full, feeling. Let no mom say ‘no’ to food just so her children can eat.

Gina Moser Teague 1 year ago


Melissa Senk Killebrew 1 year ago

Excellent news!

Karen 1 year ago

It brought tears to my eyes reading this. I am a Scary Mommy, and probably one of the first to be approved. But I watched and watched as the days went by wondering if every scary mommy in need would be helped. This was really amazing. And just know that those helped are truly grateful for your kindness.

Janie Gleave 1 year ago

Please let me know if you re-open this project to new adopted families. We didn’t get in in time. Thank you.

Sarah 1 year ago

Yay! :) Good news!

Joelle Wisler 1 year ago


melissa 1 year ago

Last year, after reading a few comments from people that missed out on your holiday project, I selected the first few I read and contacted them to send Toy r us gifts cards. A couple even sent pics of their children enjoying a happy holiday. I enjoy donating to scary mommy nation and did so again for this year’s thanksgiving project. Could you tell me in what form is the gift card for food purchase? I am considering ‘adopting” a few disappointed families. Thanks for helping so many. Wonderful work!

    Jenn 1 year ago

    We are a family who missed the deadline and needed help so much this year!! We just had to pay every penny out of savings and even some bill money to replace our furnace so our family wouldn’t be cold. It’s -5 where we live windchill. We are happy to have fixed the furnace but so sad that we don’t really have any way to get anything for thanksgiving or christmas for the kids. My email is if you want to talk further.

Rita Templeton 1 year ago


Lisa Church 1 year ago

Will the email contain mailing info so we can sent something for Xmas as well?

    madison 1 year ago

    The world needs more people like you ma’am. The fact that you’re already looking for more ways to help out families for the next holiday absolutely warms my heart. I am on the receiving end for the thanksgiving project. Seeing a comment like this gives me faith in humanity and hope for the future. May god bless you and your family for your wonderful kindness. I hope you have a wonderful holiday dear friend!



Erin Best Margolin 1 year ago


Janelle Köhler 1 year ago

I tried to apply 2 or so weeks ago and it said you weren’t taking any applications

    Callie Yaeger 1 year ago

    I’m sorry you were unable to apply this year. The applications were closed periodically so that families could be matched up with donations. It was a measure taken to ensure families were covered before more families were added to the wait list. As mentioned in the article, applications were pouring in faster than we had funds to cover them. This doesn’t help you now, but hopefully it will help in the future.

Thankful 1 year ago

NO… Thank you. So much. You don’t even know.

Cheryl Page 1 year ago

So awesome!!!

Catrina Anne Eyre 1 year ago


Denise B 1 year ago

This is amazing!

Thank you again for the help this year! It is so nice to be looking forward to Thanksgiving. :)

Megan Hutsell 1 year ago


WriterMom Angela 1 year ago

Congratulations on an amazing accomplishment Jill! I know how people will doubt and second-guess us when we say we want to make a difference in this world but you did not let the naysayers get to you and you have changed the world with your amazing heart!!!

Kayla Jansen 1 year ago

Is there any way to start donations for next year early, say even as soon as January for those who know they can donate? Keep it open to donate all the way up till next Thanksgiving?
And then open applications up and there will already be donations at that time.

    Jill Smokler, AKA Scary Mommy 1 year ago

    Yes, we are definitely still accepting donations and will apply them to future projects. Once the dust settles, we’ll assess and figure out how to improve our system in the future — would definitely love it not to be such a crazy rush, but also don’t want to be fundraising year round. There’s got to be a happy medium. :)

alexandra 1 year ago

I’m crying. I am. YES. The families will get a meal! ( oh, the tears for the kids!) YOU ARE AWESOME SCARY MOMMY NATION!

Libby Chapman 1 year ago

As am I a retiree who cannot thank you enough ! Blessings all

sarah cottrell 1 year ago

It is hard to read this thank you post without a quivering lip and tears on my cheeks. I am so proud of Scary Mommy and so honored to have been apart of this truly marvelous feat of community involvement. Happy Thanksgiving!!

Monique Penrose 1 year ago

This is the first year I’ve heard of this organization. And I’m filled with joy to say that I’ve been approved. You are truly going to make this Thanksgiving a good Thanksgiving for us all! Now that I know about you I will be donating as much as possible. Am I able to donate throughout the year? Or just in October

Donna Oestreich 1 year ago

You are a amazing woman for helping others in need!

Rosa Linda Royer 1 year ago


Erin Goto 1 year ago

Awesome 😀

Amanda Stock 1 year ago

2,000+ families is SO huge! What a great service thanks for all you do!


Enjoying this? Then like us on Facebook