The Third Annual Scary Mommy Thanksgiving Project



The Scary Mommy Thanksgiving Project gives these mothers and their families an evening of food, love and warmth, without the stress and worry they battle the rest of the year.

Innocently born out of a blog post in 2011, and now an official 501(c)3 non-profit, the project has helped over 4,500 families to date celebrate a Thanksgiving they wouldn’t otherwise have had. Read the testimonials, see yourself in these faces and ask: How can you not want to make a difference?


Due to the generosity of people like you, we have been able to fulfill 2,765 Thanksgiving requests this year – that’s each and every applicant! Words of thanks from Thanksgiving Project recipients can be found here. Thank you for helping us help them.

We’ll see you next year!


The Scary Mommy Community is built on support. If your comment doesn't add to the conversation in a positive or constructive way, please rethink submitting it. Basically? Don't be a dick, please.

  1. 1

    lesbomom says

    This is so awesome, Jill. I am so proud to call you my friend, my boss, and the founder of the community that I belong to. I know that this ScaryMommy community can and will be able to move mountains. We will be doing our part to send whatever change and monies we can SMN’s way.

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  2. 2

    Jenna says

    I love this program so much. Was a recipient the first year, and now, for the second time I’ll be able to give. Thank you for continuing this; I’m sure it’s a massive amount of work, but it’s so very good. And we need more good in the world. :)

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  3. 4


    I know firsthand how much a program like this can change a mom’s life. When I was newly separated and my ex was out of work and unable to pay child support and we were waiting for our application for food stamps to be approved a family brought me a $50 gift card to the grocery store two days before Thanksgiving. It meant the world to me.

    I will gladly share and give what I can, Jill.

    Gotta pay it forward. xo

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    • 7


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    • 8


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  4. 11


    I've been on the receiving end of such projects before…now I'm in a better place, and able to give back. But I get teary thinking about the sleepless nights I spent wondering how I would make the utility payment, let alone the holidays happen. There is no shame…and there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

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  5. 13

    CT says

    We’ve received a meal for Christmas from our church last year. Actually, we received A LOT more than just dinner, which was awesome. Thank you for doing this as we’ll now be able to help someone else. Paying it forward always feels wonderful.

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  6. 14

    Stacey says

    This is such a wonderful project. My husband left/lost his job last year (long story) and things have been very tight. But we are blessed to have more than many, so I have happily donated what we could afford.

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  7. 15

    Nonprofitess says

    We’re less than one year out from needing to be on the receiving end of this. Thanks for letting us help raise up our sisters, and thanks for reminding us that we’re all part of this village.

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  8. 17


    This is a wonderful idea! I am SO happy to be able to do something more this year, and to know that my donation is going to another "Scary Mommy" is the whipped topping on the pumpkin pie! Just like you said, under a different set of circumstances, this could be my family… it's not that hard to imagine. When my beautiful baby girl was born, I didn't realize how hard it would be and how much help I would need… so I thought asking for that help was weak. When I gave in and decided that it was ok (and maybe even the stronger thing to do) and started to ask for help, that is when my life became not only manageable, but FUN! Your website was part of the reason that I decided to ask for help, knowing other mommies need help too made a world of difference :)! So, to be able to do something to help "one of us" feels very right… thank you Jill.

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  9. 18

    Lizamomof4 says

    I had a good life. I lived just outside of Chicago with my baby and husband. As an at home mom, I ran every morning thru a park or along Lake Michigan with my baby in a very nice jogger. He and I frequented the zoo or a museum weekly (we had memberships everywhere!!). I shopped at Whole Foods as my regular grocery store and my son never wore a hand-me-down. Wasn’t I something?

    Then, my husband lost his job. We lived outside of Chicago in a house with a $3500 per month mortgage and a lifestyle to match. I remember when he called me from the train on his way home, my life crashed. I hung up the phone and said “Oh, shit.” Of course, my little guy started to say “Oh shit oh shit oh shit”. “No buddy, Mommy said Ocean!”

    Although we tried to cut back on everything and live as frugally as we could we were broke all to soon. We were in a suburb 10 minutes outside of Chicago, you do the math. My husband was sure he would be employed again in no time, with his education and background – I agreed with him.

    I did not rely on public assistance the first time. We were too proud. After our saving depleted completely, we maxed out 3 credit cards. It was nine months before he found another job and we had to move out of state. It was awful to say the least.

    Fast-forward 6 years and I was 6 months pregnant with our 4th child. My husband’s position was eliminated. After our baby was born I got a part time job at a friends store, but I had to work my hours around my husband’s because we could not afford daycare because our income was so low. He tried to establish his own business because he did not want to be employed at the whim of another ever again. It was a less then fruitful venture to say the least. I was terrified, He was completely defeated.

    My husband was very humiliated when I applied for public assistance in the form of State provided healthcare, free lunches for my kids at school, WIC and food stamps. But we were still swimming in the debt of the last flood so I knew we had no choice. He wouldn’t go grocery shopping because he couldn’t face the humiliation of those WIC checks and food share card. If you have ever had to use them, you know what I mean.

    When shopping with WIC, you have to get the approved brands (not always easy to find in the bread aisle), the correct ounces of whatever and be sure you use a check-out where you don’t know anyone in line. Usually the clerk doesn’t know exactly how to run them so he/she needs to pull out the huge and properly labeled WIC binder or call a manager to come over to help them. After being on them for a while you learn to recognize which line to wait in because you know which clerk is discrete and runs the checks in a snap….trust me, you don’t want to have to be on them.

    I was poor. But, I still had food. Public assistance is humiliating but it is there for a reason – to help you and your family get back on your feet or stay afloat for a little while. We were on assistance for 1 1/2 years. We did not abuse it. Well, maybe I abused it a little. You would not believe how much milk you get from WIC when you have 4 little kids. I shared the milk with friends I knew were struggling but not collecting assistance.

    My husband is once again gainfully employed and I am still at home, but watch a friends’ kids to bring our income up a bit until this last once starts full time school. Having lost our family income not once, but twice in 10 years was the worst thing we have ever had to deal with. I don’t know when we will ever get out of debt. But I know I am so lucky. It can all be gone in a flash and you stare at the ceiling wondering how you are going to feed them all.

    I live in a nice house and our heads are above water, usually. My son’s best friend lives in a motel room with his mom. Every-time I feel our $ struggle, I think of that mom. We try to have that little guy over whenever we can. Even at the worst of times, we had a house, shoes, food, a car… There are so many areas where you are better off than you think you are.

    We occasionally have $2 in checking the day before payday – but I haven’t had to float/bounce a check in a few years. We have a family income. We are chipping away at the debt. We have healthy children. My kids need glasses and dental work and I can get that for them. We have three well balanced meals everyday. We have 2 cars and a house. My marriage survived the joblessness.

    I live in an old charming house that needs a lot of work with my babies and husband. As an at home mom, I occasionally get to run thru a park with a kid or two in a very old jogger. My kids and I frequent free art galleries at the University and attend all the free shows the library hosts. We visit a free local zoo when we have the gas to get there and really enjoy the numerous parks in the area. I shop with coupons and study the ads to get the best deals on bananas. I dress my kids in hand-me-downs or stuff from the thrift stores only. (Except shoes – new shoes are my snobbery.) I have a good life.

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    • 19

      Kimberly says

      As someone who is currently struggling, thank you so much for being honest with your story. My husband and I are both from good, well-to-do families. I have a master’s degree, he is also college-educated. We never lived above our means, but when he was laid off four years ago, we found ourselves in a tight spot. I found employment that got us through, even though it required that I take almost zero maternity leave with our youngest (I was back at work when he was a week old, pumping in a closet). Then my position was eliminated and we were scrambling again. My husband is now working a job that doesn’t make ends meet, and I’m searching for a job like crazy. We’ve been forced to turn to public assistance to keep our kids fed- something I never wanted to have to use, as I felt that other people could benefit more. It’s hard.

      I keep getting my hopes up, only to be shot down. I was the top candidate for the last three jobs I applied for. I was offered two of them. Then, at the last minute, they called and said that the funding for the positions had fallen through, and that they were no longer able to hire anyone. Damn biology field. I hope to have a stable job soon, and it’s good to know that people like you have survived the same struggles we’re facing. Thanks again for sharing.

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        • 21


          Great blog post, I just passed this onto a uirtesinvy student who was doing a little analysis on that. And he in fact purchased me lunch because I discovered it for him. .. So let me rephrase that: Thankx for the treat! But yeah Thnkx for spending the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and enjoy learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more details? It is highly helpful for me. Two thumb up for this blog!

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  10. 22

    Steph says

    I received help two years ago at the lowest point in my life. That donation – that dinner – helped set off a string of events that changed my life for the better. You may think of it as just a dinner, but it’s so much more. It can be a life changer.

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  11. 23

    Erin says

    I’ve been reading the blog for awhile, and as a relatively new mom, I can relate to so many posts. I love that you’re doing this project, and I am happy to make a donation. I’m fortunate to have great family and friends who will help me when I need it, so to be able to pay it forward is a great feeling.

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  12. 24

    Jennifer Lopez says

    My family was a recipient of a food box when I was a kid from the local Girl Scouts for Thanksgiving many years ago. I was shocked and cried when they showed up with toys for my sister and I and a ton of food. It was a little bit embarrassing to be living in a nice city with a nice house but we were definitely in need because my dad had lost his job and was disabled from a terrible motorcycle accident. My moms income was far from enough for all the bills. We got help on bills from family but it was nice to have food and be on the meal program at school to get free lunch. I am definitely into paying it forward and helping others in need.

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    • 25


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    • 26


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  13. 28


    Love that you are doing this again. I just posted on fb yesterday that my daughter’s “job” for her autism class is sorting food for a local food pantry and she came home and said there were no donations to sort.

    Looking forward to helping you make this happen.

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