Each Friday, the another jennifer blog shares stories of those who incorporate philanthropy into their everyday lives – personally and professionally – in a creative and unique way. If you have a story you’d like to share, please contact Jennifer.
The above image came across my Facebook newsfeed yesterday morning (11/6/14). A reminder of just how generous the Scary Mommy Nation is and just how much more need there still is as we head into the holiday season.
I wrote about the Thanksgiving Project last year around this time and how it was started:
The Thanksgiving Project started as a simple blog post from Jill Smokler (aka Scary Mommy) back in 2011. This post talked about how some people in the Scary Mommy community had a rough year and simply couldn’t provide a Thanksgiving dinner for their families. Some could barely afford a loaf of bread.
Jill had the idea of asking her large community of followers for help. Would they be willing to donate some money, even a small amount, to make sure everyone would be able to celebrate Thanksgiving?
The answer was a resounding Yes. Jill was overwhelmed with people who wanted to donate. She also heard from many others who needed help. The story received a ton of media attention, including on Good Morning America, Nightline and the home pages of Yahoo and Huffington Post.
An average Thanksgiving dinner costs $50. In that first year of the Thanksgiving Project, the Scary Mommy community raised more than $20,000 and provided meals for more than 400 families.
After the success of the first impromptu Thanksgiving Project, Scary Mommy Nation quickly became a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization powered by mothers helping other mothers. As Jill told me in an email, “Once I saw the impact the site could have, I couldn’t not want to do more. I realized that people really want to help, they just need to be shown how to do it. Being official helped give me the structure I needed as well as a legitimacy that’s needed when collecting money.”
This project reminds me of how much impact a community of people – most of them mothers – can make in the lives of others. It also makes me proud to be a blogger. Collectively, we can use our blogs and our social media influence to spread the word about helping our peers.
These are families who are having a hard time making ends meet. Any of us could be there. Maybe some of your are. From an anonymous post written by a recipient:
Unless you’ve been in a similar situation, it’s hard to imagine the fear that day to day financial uncertainty can create. Sometimes I feel like I can’t take a deep breath. Sometimes I feel like if one more unexpected thing happens, the delicate facade I have created will come tumbling down and I will never repair it. Sometimes I feel like burning the idyllic picture of my family everyone sees and screaming “help us, save us.”
In the end, I keep going because the alternative doesn’t exist. Because my kids deserve better. Because there is no one to save us. Because no matter how bad things get, there’s always someone worse off than us.
And because I tell myself one day this will all be a distant memory. That day, the idyllic picture of my family everyone sees on the outside will reflect who we really are.
I made my donation yesterday. While applications to receive assistance are now closed, here’s how you can help:
- If you are involved in blogging or social media, please help spread the word.
- If you can afford to help a struggling family, please donate via Paypal. Fifty dollars buys an entire dinner – you can, of course, give less and be grouped with other donors, or give more and sponsor multiple families. (You can also mail checks to: Scary Mommy Nation, PO Box 20866 Baltimore, MD 21209)