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Family Takes All of Us

Thornwell Emphasis Month represents a long-standing tradition of faithful friends, churches, and organizations who so generously advocate for Thornwell and bring awareness to the needs that exist within our communities.

It all began in 1875 in the heart of Reverend Dr. William Plumer Jacobs and with the generosity of a young boy, Willie Anderson, who gave him fifty cents to start the, then, orphanage. A century-old tradition, Thornwell Emphasis Month honors this legacy by inviting each of us to contribute what we can, whether this contribution is a financial donation, act of service, prayer, or advocacy.

Family changes everything.

Family takes all of us.

For many, the most memorable part of this tradition is the turkey-shaped coin bank. We have countless stories from many friends just like you who remember filling up “Tom the Turkey” as children—when you first began your ministry of loving others. Bill is just like you.

In 1960, Bill was a college freshman at a liberal arts college in North Carolina. He wrote an essay for his English class just before Thanksgiving break. The rubric asked him to recall a Thanksgiving memory from his childhood. He proceeded to write about his fond memories of gathering at breakfast with his family to fill these turkeys with dimes. Although he lived in Alabama, his family loved Thornwell and sent the turkeys every year to help the children in care. On Monday when the students returned from the holiday break, the professor asked Bill and another student to stay after class to read one another’s papers.

God was on the move.

As it turns out, his classmate was one of the children who benefitted from the years of faithful support. His essay read and recalled someone once telling him, “People you will never see or meet filled these turkeys because they care about you.”

You might not ever know the full measure of your generosity. But a child at Thornwell knew someone cared.

Next month, we kick off this celebration and invite you to come alongside us. Churches will gather offerings and instill the power of giving and generosity into a new generation of faithful supporters, organizations will host fundraising events, and individual supporters, like you, will pray, give, and share the mission of Thornwell with friends and family. Visit to learn more or give today.

Together, and for 145 years, we have been making a difference for thousands of children and families across Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina!

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