The group hopes to reach the goal for the second vacation route

Jasmine Wooten had been volunteering with Motherful for about two years when she decided to take advantage of the nonprofit organization’s vacation campaign.

Around the same time last year, she was a full-time student completing her undergraduate degree in social work at Ohio State University. Money was tight and it was shaping up to be a lean Christmas for her two children.

“This (driving) literally made my kids have Christmas,” she said. But the donor who sponsored her family hadn’t only thought about her children.

The donor had paid for her to receive a massage at a day spa.

Her voice was shaking very slightly when she told me the story last week.

“The fact that a stranger gives me this kindness and recognition… has been really, really impactful,” Wooten said. “It really made a difference in our vacation.”

Started three years ago by a handful of single mothers looking for ways to support each other, Motherful is still in its infancy as a non-profit organization. One of its founders, Heidi Howes, said the group continues to struggle with growth, especially in its quest for donor support.

You can help. If you’re looking for ways to give this holiday season, consider Motherful.

Since its founding by Howes and two other women in late 2018, the group has helped other moms pay rent, provided transportation, held job interviews, and organized clothing swaps.

This is the second year that Motherful has organized a holiday campaign.

“The holidays are pretty tough for single moms,” she said. “Even a small donation makes a huge difference, for real. Most moms can do their rent, they can do their utilities, but after that there’s really not much left. is just another way to relieve some of that pressure. “

Last year Wooten’s family were one of 35 to be helped on the journey. This year, 44 families registered. Motherful is aiming for donations of $ 75 per person in each family. This year, they are late.

“We’re about $ 3,000 from our goal,” Howes said Thursday.

Theodore Decker, Columbus Dispatch columnist

The idea behind Motherful is to create a community of single mothers who can pool their resources and knowledge while sailing solo. But equally important, Howes said, is the sense of camaraderie that has developed.

About 20% of American children are raised by single mothers, according to the Pew Research Center. Still, a single mom can feel like it’s her against the world, Howes said.

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Motherful has sought to “solve this problem that we have, where we are so isolated,” she said. “For a lot of us who didn’t have family support – I didn’t have family in town – you really drown all the time.”

For many, she said, that isolation and disconnection has deepened during the pandemic.

In a recent call to action for more affordable housing, Stephanie Hightower, president of the Columbus Urban League, said her organization had since July responded to 12,000 calls from people seeking help because they thought they were in danger of losing their home.

“Most of these calls were from black single mothers,” Hightower said.

“The housing crisis is huge, just as rental prices have gone up,” Howes said. “Homeownership is really out of the question for a lot of single moms. “

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Since that first brainstorming session led to the creation of Motherful, the group has started a pantry, a food sharing program in partnership with Trader Joe’s, and a community garden. The organization dreams of a cohabitation village for single mothers, where amenities like an on-site cafeteria and laundromat would lighten some of their daily burden.

More urgent at the moment, however, is to meet or exceed the goal of $ 10,000 for the vacation campaign. Fundraising for the drive ends Monday.

If you decide to push them a little closer, just visit their website at A pop-up will take you directly to the donation page.

Wooten, who graduated from OSU on Mother’s Day, is now enrolled in graduate school. But she always finds time to help Motherful and takes her two children, aged 7 and 10, with her.

She’s busy, sure, but volunteering with the group is a form of self-care, she said.

“I pour myself in and show how much it affects me and my kids. We fill this cup a bit.

“They also got to observe and see me volunteering, so it has a generational effect.”

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@ Theodore_Decker

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