Jill Smokler's website is called Scary Mommy, but she is actually a very kind mommy. Two years ago, her heart went out to members of her online community who admitted they couldn't afford to make Thanksgiving dinner for their family. So Jill decided to raise money to pay for their dinners. "The whole experience was humbling, inspiring, and simply amazing," she says. Last year, Scary Mommy helped feed 200 families.
As one mom wrote to thank her:
"We were so very broke and behind on our bills. Scary Mommy saved me at Thanksgiving with a giftcard to my local grocery store. I cried when I received it, it was such a big help to our family!"
This year, The Scary Mommy Thanksgiving Project is hoping to help more families than ever. After all, as our article "The Giving Season" reminds us, too many children don't get enough to eat year-round. More than 16 million kids in the United States (that's 22% of all children) now come from families whose household income is less than the federal poverty level of $23,550 for a family of four. Almost half of those kids live in deepest poverty, on household earnings less than $11, 775 per year. In the suburbs, the number of poor families jumped by 64 percent from 2000 to 2011.
So far, Scary Mommy has raised more than $70,000 and that means that more than 1,400 families who submitted applications will be able to celebrate with a turkey this year. As of today, 240 families are on the waiting list.
One mom who applied this year wrote:
"The last year year has been a real struggle for my family. It has been really hard to buy groceries. It is our job as parents to provide for our children, and when you can't, you feel like a failure. I really appreciate this program, and am very grateful to have it available. Without this, I really don't think we would have a Thanksgiving."