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Idaho Life: Single parent families take center stage at Thanksgiving photo shoot

On this Thanksgiving, one Boise couple found a way to peel away the distractions and help single moms realize what makes them so special.

BOISE — Thanksgiving is traditionally a time for self-reflection, to consider our blessings and give thanks for what we have - even when the daily grind can make it difficult to appreciate.

On this Thanksgiving, one Boise couple found a way to peel away the distractions and help single moms realize what makes them so special.

Back in September, Liz Dunstan and her husband John accepted $100 from their church, Vineyard Boise Christian Fellowship, to start a Grace Project.

They called it the "Thankful Family Photo Shoot," and this past weekend, a group of families gathered to strike a pose.

The families in the photos, however, are not exactly what many would consider complete, sometimes even for those living in them.

"In your mind you envision a family that doesn't look like this, it looks like how you started with a dad, you know?" said Christine, a single mother of two boys. "And so it's hard to swallow that pill that like, this is my new family and this is how it's going to be."

Credit: Bill Krumm/KTVB
Nontraditional families were the focus a photo shoot in Boise last weekend. The couple behind it called it the "Thankful Family Photo Shoot."

Liz says she has seen too many households break apart, and was tired of moms feeling broken by it.

"I just want them to know that they're loved and their family matters, that they matter so much," she said.

She hopes to help them look at themselves through a new lens.

"I was telling the kids, 'it's really important for mom that we get to do this today' so I'm very excited about it," said Emily, a single mother of three.

A lot of others were excited about it too. When word of Liz and John's project got out, the donations came flowing in, allowing them to take photos of 10 families.

From the pictures to the place settings to the service, Liz wanted the details to matter so this day would separate these women from the stigma of being a "single mom."

It was a moment that meant so much to those who participated.

"It's hard to be thankful for the hard things but they make such beautiful families, every mom and their kids make a family," Liz said. "It's so precious."

The further illustrate that point, the families filled out a family tree of sorts - to plant a seed that each family matters.

"The mommas are the branches and the kids are the leaves," Liz explained.

Credit: Bill Krumm/KTVB
Families at the photo shoot put together their own families trees.

Liz tells us that even though this party wasn't exactly themed for the Thanksgiving holiday, she hoped the moms will realize that any day can be Thanksgiving.