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Celebrate Thanksgiving – Write For a Cause!

By Danielle Mahoney on October 29, 2012
  • Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

Are you ready to get involved with a special writing project this Thanksgiving? Help me as I deliver food to homebound seniors in New York City on Thanksgiving Day. Being a part of this special event is easy. Inspire your students to create handmade cards and write heartfelt messages that will lift spirits and spread joy throughout New York City.





Project FIND and Project Give

Many years ago, I started volunteering with Project FIND, an organization that provides vital services to senior citizens in New York City. I was asked if I would be available to pick up and deliver hot food to homebound seniors on Thanksgiving morning, along with a gift bag filled with food for the following day. I learned that without this delivery, the seniors would go hungry, as most support services would be closed for the holiday. Of course, I agreed to volunteer as a driver. I also had an idea to invite my students to make a few simple cards for me to take along on my deliveries. It wasn’t long before I realized just how important this part of the mission was. My heart broke as I visited the seniors and saw that so many of them were alone on Thanksgiving. I knew I would be involved with this work again in the future, but there was no way I could do it alone. And so, I reached out to my teacher friends, and started, “Project Give.” Teachers have inspired their students to create cards for the seniors ever since.


Looking Back at Project Give

Find out more about how “Project Give” got started and learn about ways you can get your students to Write For A Cause.

You’ll find photos from past events, examples of cards, and a book suggestion to get you started. Please share this with your students to get them excited about being a part of this special day!





Writing Can Make All the Difference

So many of you have become involved with “Project Give” over the past two years. With your help, we’ve collected thousands and thousands of handwritten cards from all over the world. That’s pretty amazing! Check out The Power of Writing to view examples of student work and the journey the cards made to the seniors on Thanksgivings past.

I’m constantly reminded of how important this work is and what a difference your students truly make! In September, I received a lovely note from Debra Escort, the director of special projects at Project FIND. In it she writes:

 “This is my favorite time of year because I get to see and work with wonderful people like yourself and your wonderful students. I can’t begin to tell you how many seniors call our offices after the holiday just to say how the cards touch their hearts. Your project and your students surpass the art of giving.”


Guidelines for Making Cards

Are you excited to get started but you’re not sure what your cards should include? Follow these guidelines and let the creativity flow!

★    Greeting: "Dear Friend" or "Dear Senior."

★    Have students introduce themselves, but please leave out last names.

★    Encourage students to write about their families and their holiday traditions.

★    Students can write about their favorite subject, book, sport, or activity.

★    Remind the seniors to enjoy the delicious meal and let them know that they are not alone.

★    Please include a bright, colorful illustration.

★    Keep it brief and sweet.

★    Make sure the writing is legible! Seniors have an easier time reading larger print on light backgrounds!

★    Get creative and have fun!

Please mail your cards to:

Project Give

P.S. 212

c/o Miss Mahoney

34-25 82nd Street

Jackson Heights, NY 11372


Starting New Thanksgiving Traditions

Being a part of a new tradition can be very exciting. I’ve even added a new one to my own Thanksgiving celebration this year. A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary and attend an elegant, meatless, “ThanksLiving” dinner where the turkeys were invited to dinner — as the guests of honor! I shared a delicious meal with friends on the farm and spent the day visiting the pigs, cows, sheep, rabbits, ducks, and of course, the turkeys!

Here I am with my friends, Stephanie and Glorivy, as we visit Beatrice and Boone during the feeding of the turkeys.


ThanksLiving reminded me so much of Dav Pilkey’s ‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving, one of my favorite picture books. Pilky’s story about a class visit to a farm takes a turn when the students learn that the turkeys are facing a terrible fate. They quickly devise a plan to smuggle the turkeys out of the farm in order to invite them into their homes as Thanksgiving guests. Check out my November Book Picks to learn more about this book and other great resources to bring into your classroom this time of year.


So, are you ready for a new tradition? This is your chance to get your students involved in a very special mission. I look forward to receiving and delivering your cards again this year. Start your card-making project as soon as you can. Thanksgiving is right around the corner!  Place your completed cards in a large envelope and mail them to me so that they arrive by November 16th. Thank you for writing for a cause.

Here’s to a very happy, Thanksgiving.




Comments (10)

Yes! You have time to send them from Texas. I'll need to get them by Friday, but if they happen to arrive on Monday, that should be ok, too! =)


Bless YOU!! Thank you for working with your son at home. I can imagine how challenging homeschooling must be. I can't wait to read his card. Please give him a big hug for me. xoxo

This is a fabulous idea. I'm so excited to have my students participate and create something so meaningful. I do have one question, though. I would be sending the letters from Texas. When would they need to be mailed by in order to reach you on time?

God bless you, Ms. Mahoney. This is such a wonderful idea, and my five-year-old son just sent you his homemade card. I was proud that he was eager to participate as soon as I explained your cause. (He is a giver by nature, as he holds an annual donation drive for the hospital he received a heart transplant from- he learned early on to give back as much as possible!) I homeschool him so I don't have a whole class to send your idea to, but I did forward this on to friends, family and my mother's church Sunday School. We wish you tons of cards, lots of help in your endeavors, and the strength and support to continue this amazing journey. Warm wishes to YOU, and blessings in all you do~

Wonderful news! I look forward to getting cards from Home School and Clearwater, Florida!!

I will definitely send you some from Clearwater, Florida too!

We are totally jumping in on this with Home School!

Thanks, kw!! I'm proud to have this very special writing activity here on Scholastic.com. I look forward to reading the beautiful hand written messages again this year. NYC has been hit pretty hard by Hurricane Sandy. These seniors need cheering up now more than ever!

This is such a great project Danielle--and you are so terrific to spend your Thanksgiving running around to the homes of shut in Seniors on Thanksgiving Day! Hoping many classes get involved in this.

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