Thanksgiving, Because of You

Because of you, 378 families who might otherwise have otherwise skipped Thanksgiving dinner next week will be enjoying a hot meal with their loved ones. They’ll be comforted and nurtured and touched by the amazing kindness of strangers… You…

“Thank you a thousand times over. I will think of you and the amazing donors when I look into my full fridge with thanks in my heart.”..

“There are no words for what your community is doing for my family. You have changed the entire season for me. You have no idea how very much this means to my family.”.

“I needed the money so badly, as we were down to our last loaf of bread, but more than that, I needed a renewed faith in the kindness of people. You and your wonderful readers have given that to me– the greatest gift of all. God bless every one of you.” ..

634 of you opened your hearts and your wallets to help those in need. You gave from all across the world, as far as Haiti, Italy, France and Australia. So many more helped spread the word and offered assistance of other kinds. Hand-drawn pictures are being sent from children to children. Food stamps and coupons and even a turkey are making their way to families in need. Gift cards to grocery stores all over the country are currently in transit..

Together, we raised well over $18,000 in five days. Donations ranged from a dollar to a couple hundred, which means that every single family who wrote a comment asking for help will receive enough to cover their Thanksgiving dinners..

It’s incredible. This whole thing has been absolutely incredible.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, for all you did to make this happen. The results were beyond my wildest imagination.

The happiest of Thanksgivings, everyone.

We all deserve it.

UPDATE: The tally of families helped is now 401, and donor families is 698. The total raised? Over 20,000 dollars. TWENTY THOUSAND FREAKING DOLLARS!!!

P.S. I did have several e-mails bounce back to me, so if you left a comment and didn’t hear back, (either as a family in need or donor) please e-mail me at jill{at}scarymommy{dot}com. I have around 30 people left who e-mailed after I closed the comments, so there is still time to help a family in need!

P.P.S. I’ve learned a lot about organization and the importance of a thing called spreadsheets. Next year, hopefully this whole process will be easier. And, yes, there will be a next year. I’m hooked.

P.P.P.S. I’m going to go sleep now for a million years. Good night.

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!


Natasha Jinks 2 years ago

If you can can help one more family i have one for you email or inbox me please… :(

Kathy Pederson 2 years ago

This is wonderful. Are you by any chance doing this again this year, 2013?

Kerrie 2 years ago

I’m not sure when this post was put up , or if anyone will even see it. I’m and at my wits send trying to figure out how my family is going to have thanksgiving this year. I am a single mom of 5 and my youngest was just diagnosed with epilepsy in April and it just feels like everything had been a struggle ever since. I don’t think they have food boxs in my community , and I have checked the local food pantrys and they do not have the funding/resources to do anything this year and some places and churches just have simply not answered. If anyone can give me any information on any other places where I could get done help it would very much appreciated! I just want this day to be as stree free and worry free as possible. Thank you so much!

Denise 4 years ago

Wow! You are amazing. I’m so sorry I didn’t read about this until today. Wish I could have been a part of it. Hopefully you do this, again, next year. You are one heck of a great person!!!!

TiredMommy 4 years ago

Your kindness and generosity went very far this year in our lives. We were down to almost nothing to eat at home and now we have been living off of the Thanksgiving leftovers. This will only last until next payday. We would have been in a really bad place if it wasn’t for all of you and we are forever thankful!!!

Elaine 4 years ago

Amazing. This gave me chills. I’m so proud of the community we have here. And thank YOU, Jill for spearheading such an amazing thing. xo

Sara 4 years ago

Hi ScaryMommy,
Just wanted to thank you for doing this! My family received a check for $25 from a wonderful donor and we really appreciate it. I understood that their would be $50 coming from two donors and I wanted to let you know the second one hasn’t shown up for my family. I wanted to make you aware in case it was another check, so the donor would be aware that it was maybe lost or stolen so they could protect their info.

We are grateful for the $25 and we made it work. Thanks again :)

Alexandra 4 years ago

My smile here, today, to be able to help.

My smile here,t oday, to know someone like you.

My smile here, today, for the families who had FOOD because of this community that exists.

This is what LIFE and LIVING and BEING HUMAN is: This is life.

Thank you, Scary Mommy.

Thank you more than what I can say.

Anonymous 4 years ago

My message is simple: THANK YOU. You have truly blessed my family this year.

Tina @ Life Without Pink 4 years ago

What a wonderful thing you have done Jill – you are truly amazing and an inspiration. So glad to be part of this :)

Linda G. 4 years ago

Thank you, Thank you Thank you!!!!! i received a giftcard from Ann, and it was such a blessing! But lo and behold, I was going through my big ol’ pile of bills this morning, and I discovered another card in the mail from Keri! That was such a wonderful surprise!!! I often start feeling like nobody really understands or cares how hard it is for us struggling to keep just the basics for the children. My friends just don’t seem to get it, and it seems that after so many invites to activities that we simply cannot afford to participate in, they start to drift away.

Jenn 4 years ago

Just wanted to say thanks, Jill to you and all your readers out there. Because of you our family was able to have a wonderful Thanksgiving meal and enjoy the day together. You are all Thanksgiving angels!! With hard work and a little luck,we hope to be return this incredible kindness next year. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

dmnaples 4 years ago

Thank you so VERY much for the wonderful Gift Card.It really helped my family so much.Thanks again to each and everyone @Scary Mommy you guys are amazing!!!

Sandi Clay 4 years ago

Just watched the telecast on how you made such a wonderful difference for so many families this Thanksgiving. Don’t know if you have already received this information on this resource, but a friend works with the Share Food Network. They have several food packages available ranging from $20 to $38 plus 2 hours of volunteer service. Transportation is also provided for an additional 50 cents to a 1.00. The $20 holiday package package included the following: whole chicken, pork chops, ground beef, turkey sausage links, stuffing mix, elbow macaroni, frozen danish, sweet potatoes, white potatoes,onions, and apples.

The network provides food each month and the website is The are chapters in every Maryland county plus Baltimore City. Also Washington D.C. Some of your followers might like to volunteer time in order to help other families. Let’s share this information so families in need can get help each month.

Marcus Morales 4 years ago

After watching this story on Nightline I came to tears because I was one of these children that had to skip meals when I was younger, so that my brother could eat. Skipped meals should never happen. I would love to help out anyway I can with Christmas coming along, many more will skip meals.

I just want to say that you ladies have done a tremendous service and I could only hope more people will follow in your footsteps!

Roger Pemberton 4 years ago

I just saw the story on the news. Each and every one of you are amazing! Those that helped and those who accepted help so their families could have a great Thanksgiving. I’m not an overly emotional person but I was extremely touched by the story. Well played, ladies. Well played.

Karen 4 years ago

I wanted to send a note of thanks to you for organizing the Scary Mommy Thanksgiving and for the generosity of your readers. Because of $50 that you sent, our family was able to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving meal with turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, Jello salad, and pumpkin pie. It’s not often that we can afford a $50 meal, but thanks to you and your readers, today we could!

Anonymous 4 years ago

Because of this, I didn’t have to choose between buying our prescriptions and buying groceries. We were able to have a real holiday meal and spend one night not worrying about our finances. To Scary Mommy and the two women who sent me grocery gift cards, you’ll never know how thankful we are to you. Happy Holidays.

Kristin @ What She Said 4 years ago

I just learned of this after watching the segment on ABC – I mean, you freaking made the national news! Such an amazing accomplishment. What a wonderful thing you’ve done, Jill.

Krystal 4 years ago

Thank you so much! My family received our gift and I had a smile on my face all the way to the grocery store. Our thanksgiving dinner cost $46.78. I wanted to tell you that it brought tears to my eyes to be able to go and warmed my heart. thank you for your gift and may god bless you for your generosity.

Jennifer 4 years ago

Would like to say thanks to all who donated. I had asked for help, but did not receive a gift card in the mail. I was able to scrape up enough to make a little something special for me and my girls (lots of change was involved). I’m thankful that so many of you gave to help those of us who need the help, but really have a hard time asking for it most days. God bless

    Scary Mommy 4 years ago

    Oh, no!!!! Your card must be stuck somewhere– I am so sorry!!! I will get you out a new one tomorrow– please use it for christmas or whatever else!!

      Jennifer 4 years ago

      It’s fine. I live in the middle of nowhere so it takes forever for stuff to get here. You really don’t have to… I am just thankful there are people like you out there who are amazing enough to help others. I will definitely pay it forward when I can :)

    Rachel Bennett 4 years ago

    i also didnt receive the one she sent for me. must be holiday mail clogging up the post office. i was able to find a food bank that had some stuff and my family and 2 others combined what we had and made an awesome dinner. i even had some turkey i brought home so my cat can eat since we are out of money until the first (my kitty i have had for 18 years got sick and i had to pawn some stuff to have the vet see him thankfully he is on medicine now and feeling better). i am still hoping the giftcard might show up monday or something so i can buy catfood. i know thats silly but its life. i am glad you also were able to figure it all out. i know how you feel about not wanting to ask for help. sometimes its harder than scraping by on next to nothing just to reach out for help.

      Scary Mommy 4 years ago

      Hi! Unfortunately, you did sign up pretty late, so I was worried about it getting there in time for Thanksgiving. But, I sent it out myself last week, so hopefully it will arrive in the next day or two and you can put it to good use. :) Let me know if you don’t receive it by the end of the week!

        Rachel Bennett 4 years ago

        i know. it might help even more this way though. so its really a good thing it didnt get here before thanksgiving.because the whole thing with my kitty came up. it sucked to have to visit the pawn shop i have never done that before. but its worth it to see him feeling better.

Caroline See 4 years ago

I would like to send a giant thank you shout out to the Ingrassia family in NJ. I can’t believe the results of this amazing reach out thank you to everyone who donated to help us who needed it and I hope next year I’m on my feet so I can pay it forward.
This literally takes my breath away.

    Corine 4 years ago

    You are SO very welcome Caroline! I hope you and your family had a great holiday filled with delicious food and great memories. I was worried it would not get to you on time- I’m glad to know that it did! :)

    BIG thank you to Jill for organizing. So glad to have been part of something so incredibly uplifting.

Courtney 4 years ago

We just got home from the hospital at 10am. The twins are happily playing in their room. When I checked my mail I had a $25 gift card in my mailbox. Somebody named Shannon in Austin, TX sent it to me. Thank you so much for this. The boys had tubes inserted in their ears and their adenoids removed, so we aren’t cooking today – but we will have Thanksgiving this weekend. We are planning to share the meal with another family here in town. They don’t have much either but they help us with rides/errands whenever they can. They even came to the hospital last night to bring the boys each a balloon and a book. I am so thankful for what you did for all these families. I have always said that if people would just work together, so many people could be helped. If 50 people donated $1, that could buy dinner, buy gifts, buy diapers, pay an electric bill. That is a big help for a family – especially a single parent family on welfare. We ended up getting a turkey donated to us, so I will use my gift card to buy the roasting pan and some yummy treats for my boys. (I might sneak some diapers into the cart as well – I hope that is okay.) Happy Thanksgiving.

Tricia 4 years ago

Truly amazing!! I just saw you on the National news. Incredible what you did. Thank you so much. I wish I had seen this earlier, as I would have loved to have been a part of this wonderful movement. Thank you! I hope you and your family have a fantastic Thanksgiving.

Erin Judd 4 years ago

I’m sorry I didn’t see this earlier but all I can say is WOW!! You did one hell of an amazing thing! Congrats….$20K in ridiculously impressive! I use to work for a non profit and it took us 6 months to raise that!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!!
Erin Judd

Casey M 4 years ago

We helped a family have christmas a couple years ago, and you’re right, its addicting. We didn’t set out to, we’d just usually donate to Toys for Tots and the local foodbank,and think we’d done fine. That year a friend posted on Facebook that a girlfriend of hers had just admitted that day (less than a week before Christmas) that her child support was late, and it was either feed her four kids or buys gifts. Faced with that, she was going to tell kids ages 8,6,4 and 2 that Santa couldn’t make it to their house this year. I did the ugly cry for about ten minutes and then realized $50 would buy a toy for each kid, and I could afford to do that. So I called a couple friends, thinking some they might donate a dollar or two as well. What I got was another $50, another, and another and another… I bought toys, clothes, a gift for Mom, and Target gift card for $100. I wrapped each gift as if Santa’s elves were looking over my shoulder. My oldest son helped me, and when I wept with appreciation for all the generosity, he asked me why I cried. I explained that some kids don’t get piles of gifts, or even one gift, some get none. The horror on his five year old face was extreme, then he brightened. He asked “If you get me less gifts will we have more money to buy gifts for the kids with nothing?” I said yes, and my son RAN to the tree. I asked what he was doing and he said “Finding all my presents so we can take them back to the store for money for the kids with nothing.” I fell into a chair. We’re not religious, but we teach our children compassion, love, what it means to give. But this was so much more, there was my five year old son, reading tags on gifts making a pile of HIS presents, not taking from his brother or sister, just himself, not knowing what was inside his gifts but willing to give up everything so someone he didn’t know and would never meet wouldn’t go without. I’d never been half as generous. Since then we get our children three gifts, period. And we find a family who needs Christmas help, team up with friends to pool our resources and make it happen for the kids in need. Though my younger two kids aren’t yet old enough to fully understand, my oldest takes such joy in picking out gifts for the unknown child, special care and attention goes into wrapping and he waits with bated breath to hear about what it was like when those gifts were delivered. Last year he heard how the kids were jumping up and down squealing with delight, he looked at me and said, “I know how Santa feels when hes done a good job.” Since that first year I am taught again by a child what Christmas Spirit actually IS.

Tiaras & Tantrums 4 years ago

Jill – way to use your connection s- this – I LOVE!

Missy 4 years ago

Thank you so much!! I received a fed ex envelop yesterday and my heart just stopped! A very special thanks to the Sustala and Webster Families for the help. My family greatly appreciated the help that your families provided. Have a great holiday to you both and to all of the other families on here. Thank you Scary Mommy!!

Jessica 4 years ago

How amazing, and it all started with you.

Shanna 4 years ago

This is so amazing Jill!!!! And all the others who contributed! This is what true human kindness is about! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!!!

Diane Anderson 4 years ago

Someone mentioned that they couldn’t use their online Walmart card for food. What you can do is order something of equal or lesser value and then return it (for store credit) to a Super Walmart that does carry groceries. That is what I am doing :)

Loukia 4 years ago

Way to go, Jill, you’re an amazing person all around… I think you’ve exceeded your ‘good deed’ quota for the year! 😉 Such an awesome thing you’ve done, along with everyone who took part and helped out! Happy (almost) Thanksgiving! Also, HI! I miss you. Haven’t talked to you in forever.

Anna Lefler 4 years ago

So proud to be a part of this amazing effort, Jill. And even more proud to know you.

Yes! Go sleep now!!

Happy Thanksgiving all around!



athankfulwoman 4 years ago

I am completely overwhelmed by the generosity of strangers. My heart is so full and my faith in humanity and in God’s goodness has been renewed, refreshed…restored! My family has been so blessed by this generous act of kindness. Thank you all for your blessing to us and I pray you all have a very Happy Thanksgiving. We absolutely will pay it forward. Much love!

anon 4 years ago

Recieved my gift cards today.Thank you to Andrea from IN and Natalie from CA.Because of you my family will have a great thanksgiving.Thank you scarymommy for doing this.My family is so grateful for what you all have done for us.Happy Thanksgiving to all!!

Joyce 4 years ago

Bless you for what you have done. For the first time in years, we will be celebrating with turkey, stuffing, potatoes, veggies, rolls, dessert… we are pinching ourselves and thanking our angels for everything.

Barbara 4 years ago

My neighbor recieved her gift card and is so over joyed.Thank you all for doing this.Thanks to the kindness of strangers their holidays are much brighter now.From the bottom of my heart i thank you!!

Martha 4 years ago

I was confused for a moment when I saw the envelopes in my mail this afternoon (Huh? I don’t know anyone named Meghan in Arizona….). Then I remembered Scary Mommy, and my heart skipped a beat. Words cannot express how grateful I am to Meghan, and to the woman with the postmark from Kearny, NJ (signed simply “Me”) who also, incredibly, included “a little something extra for the upcoming gift-giving season.” You have made my family’s holidays immeasurably brighter. Thank you so, so much. And thank you too to Scary Mommy herself for making the season better for so many!

Nathan’s Mom 4 years ago

My gift cards arrived yesterday and I can’t accept my gratitude enough. To be able to have a real Thanksgiving meal with my family is such a blessing and I thank you and Corrine from NJ from the bottom of my heart.

c 4 years ago

I am so touched my heart is overflowing. Thank you so much for everything you did.

Melody Williams 4 years ago

I just want to let the donors know that I and my family appreciate you. Your heart is so big and money can be a touch thing and you were willing to open your hearts and your wallets to those in need and I am one who believes what goes around comes around and I am so thankful for you. Please know I don’t take you for granted. Thanks to you I am able to feed my children during this thanksgiving week while they are out of school and home this week. I didn’t know how before but now i do and I know why also and that is because of you. Thanks!

Christine 4 years ago

I got my card in the mail. Thank you to the woman that sent it to me. I’ve had the worst few months and something today made it even worse. You made me feel like there are people out there that care and I really thank you for that!

Laura 4 years ago

I’m sitting here near tears..Thank you so much. This money means food on our table and I thank you from the bottom of my heart and the rest of my family’s heart, thank you, thank you, thank you. This wouldnt be possible this year without your love and kindness and generosity.

cassandra mackiewicz 4 years ago

Thank you for organizing and thank you to the people who donated. You are all Amazing. The kindness you have shown will help me make a wonderful dinner to share with my family and have renewed my spirits. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart and i hope next I can be the one to GIVE! Thank you so much! God Bless!

Anonymous 4 years ago

I just received my gift card in the mail and wanted to tell you how very grateful I am. This year has been so difficult for us and I’ve often wondered how we would go on. When my kids and I eat our Thanksgiving meal, I’ll think of you and our donor, Ann. You both are angels.

erin h 4 years ago

I received my gift cards today and I can’t even express the emotions running through me! Thanks to the kindness of perfect strangers, I can breath a sigh of relief for the first time in weeks. Thank you to everyone for being so giving and helping those in need! My spirit has been lifted, and my family will pay it forward for sure!!!

Jack@TheJackB 4 years ago

Just wanted to say that I think this is fantastic. Really heart warming.

Karen 4 years ago

Thank you Jill for putting the word out!!! Because of YOU, it all happened!

Christine 4 years ago

That is soooo nice of everyone! I found this site not to long ago and I am now addicted and could sit on it all day! There’s some funny women on here!

anon 4 years ago

Thank you for the quick response! I didn’t know there was more coming…I’m a dope! LOL I think that is what I’ll do then. Lord knows I could use the extra for Christmas too, so it should work out well. Thanks again “Not-So-Scary-Mommy” 😉

    Scary Mommy 4 years ago

    Yes, everyone will be getting $50, just sometimes from 2 different people. :)

      Courtney 4 years ago

      I hate to even say anything… but I only got the one gift card. I don’t need a new one sent out – I just want to let somebody know. That way you can track it.

anon 4 years ago

I just wanted to thank you all for this amazing, AMAZING!!! thing you’ve done here. It really blows my mind. It sounds so cliche, but you ladies have certainly restored my faith in humanity. I’ve never seen nor been a part of such kindness and generosity – at least not to this degree ($20,000??!!!! Holy cow!)

I received a $25 gift card to Walmart, which can only be used online. Can anyone tell me if I can buy food from Walmart online? And do you think it can get here buy Thursday? I am not at all trying to sound ungrateful, because I am VERY thankful for my gift, I just want to know if I should try using it for Thanksgiving dinner (for 6) or save it for Christmas. I don’t usually shop online, and I’ve never bought food online at all. Sorry to sound stupid! LOL

Again, I am so appreciative of this $25 gift, It’s about $25 more than I had before.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone here – givers and recipients, all!

    Scary Mommy 4 years ago

    Oh, no! about it being used on-line. You should also be receiving $25 cash or Visa card, so perhaps use that on the food and save the other for Christmas?

Carolyn 4 years ago

Am I too late to help? Please email if I can still donate.

shawn main 4 years ago

this was so awesome, way to go Jill, you and everyone who helped are special angels. so many people these days seem oblivious to the problems around them, and its nice to know there are people who care. this time around, i will receive the blessings and help, hopefully next year things will be better for me and i can be one of the angels.

Rachel Bennett 4 years ago

i just read about what you did for all those people. thank you! as someone who is in that situation myself, seeing that people not only care, but are willing to help really warms my soul. i will be eating a microwave dinner with my love and our kitty at home on thanksgiving, and thanking god for people like you who help people in need :)

Diane Anderson 4 years ago

Today I opened my mailbox and found an envelope addressed to me. I wasn’t sure who it was from until I opened it. I started shaking when I pulled out the money, as I got back into my car I showed my husband and we both smiled at eachother as we looked at our babies sitting in the back seat.

Because of what you have done, three active duty Navy personnel and 12 of their family member will enjoying Thanksgiving together. Even collectively we didn’t have enough to share until we received this wonderful donation.

My heart is full and there is a burden that has been lifted, if even for this one day.

Thank you to EVERYONE, scarrymom, Sarah and every single person that found it in their hearts and wallets to share. You are awesome!!!!!

PS- I just bought my ham!!! I have never bought a ham before!

tatiyana 4 years ago

Jill, we couldn’t have done this without YOU! Thank you for putting this together and allowing those of us who are able to to help families that really need help this time of year (and all year I’m sure). Even though my family couldn’t give a lot, I know the little bit we did give will help a lot.

Chrissy 4 years ago

Thank you so very much. :)

Bella 4 years ago

I am so glad to hear this! I still can offer some help to a local Norfolk VA family if need be. It wouldn’t be much but I could take someone shopping. Just so you know, in case someone wasn’t able to be helped.

Carolyn (temysmom) 4 years ago

Jill, I have so many friends and family who have contacted me about wanting to help. Please know that we are continuing to pay it forward. Thank you so much for starting this movement.

Merry 4 years ago

All I can say is thank you.

Ann 4 years ago

Amazing. Simply amazing.


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