Operation Smile

Operation Smile provides free surgeries to repair cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities for children around the world. More info at their main website here.

Looking for more ways to help Operation Smile? We need community volunteers to mobilize their friends and family to sew, collect or prepare specific supplies that we need on our medical missions. You can help by making these items yourself, or leading a collection at your office, school or place of worship. When generous hearts come together, everyone can help heal children’s smiles.

After receiving life-transforming surgery, each child receives a Smile Bag bursting with goodies – the perfect gift to cheer up a healing child. Smile Bags are filled with small-sized personal care items plus toys, stickers and a mirror to see their new smile. We need community volunteers to collect the personal care items and sew cloth Smile Bags. Please ship empty Smile Bags. Operation Smile has a volunteer staff that fills the Smile Bags which ensures that each child on the same medical mission receives the same items.

During each medical mission, Operation Smile will set up a complete office upon arrival at our host hospital. We bring everything we need for medical records – from ink pens to staplers – and many other assorted items that our hosts are unable to provide. Your help to collect and donate these items will help us save costs and serve more children around the world.

The Operation Smile Child Life Station is a place where children can relax and play before the surgery experience. To help with screening, pre-surgical and post-surgical play therapy, we will accept new and gently used stuffed animals, arts and crafts supplies, liquid bubbles and other toys. At the completion of the medical mission, these items are donated with the hospital pediatric departments for future use.

Few things give more comfort to a child in a hospital than a warm, soft blanket. Community volunteers can help provide blankets for children receiving an Operation Smile surgery. For some, this will be the first blanket they’ve ever owned! This project is a wonderful way to provide warmth and comfort for the children of Operation Smile.

For children who’ve never even seen a doctor, a visit to the hospital can be scary. Smile Dolls are used by the Child Life Therapists to alleviate the fear of anesthesia masks, stethoscopes and needles while communicating about their medical procedures. If you can sew, we need community volunteers to make Smile Dolls for our medical missions.

Proper healing is essential for a healthy new smile. To help keep the surgical incision clean, No-No Arm Bands prevent a child from bending their arms and touching their face. An arm band is inserted with tongue depressors to create a simple splint. This is a great service project for community volunteers who can sew and will help facilitate the healing process of a child receiving a new smile.

A clean, fun hospital gown will bring joy to a child’s face before and after surgery. Yet hospitals in impoverished countries have few or no resources to provide them. Talented Community Volunteers who can sew are encouraged to help us provide hospital gowns to children receiving surgery. A gown pattern is available from Operation Smile International Headquarters for $5.00. Please contact us for assistance.

When your collection is completed, please fill out the service project inventory sheet to accurately record your efforts. Remember to collect donations or work with a local business to cover the cost of packaging and shipping the supplies to Operation Smile international headquarters:

Attn: WAREHOUSE/Service Project
3641 Faculty Boulevard
Virginia Beach, VA 23453 USA

For your records, handmade items have the following values:

• Smile Bags $2.00
• Smile Dolls $5.00
• Hospital Gowns $5.00
• No-No Arm Bands $2.00
• Quilts/Blankets/Afghans $5.00 – $10.00 depending on materials

It is important, when organizing your collection that no items contain religious symbols or markings that may offend our international patient’s cultural beliefs. We also do not accept toys related to war or violence, such as guns, military action figures, etc.

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