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Community Fundraising and Service Projects
Children and families can experience significant obstacles to safe and timely surgical care.
The obstacles our patients face may vary – it may be financially difficult to seek care, or transportation to the medical mission site may be challenging. Our community volunteers help alleviate discomfort and stress by extending their generosity beyond the surgery that each of our patients receive.
Each act of kindness is hugely appreciated by our patients and their families, our medical volunteers and staff worldwide. Here's how you can help.
Even the smallest gift amounts can help bring hope and smiles to children around the world.
We review how donations and receipting should be submitted, and answer general questions like, 'How do I get started?'
Our fundraising guidelines will walk you through what's expected of our community volunteer fundraisers, event organizer responsibilities and what Operation Smile can provide as support.
Organize a community event and request a local medical volunteer speaker from our Speakers Bureau to share their stories of medical missions and the patients whose lives are changed through our work. The Speakers Bureau includes more than 140 medical and non-medical volunteer speakers who are available to deliver presentations for service organizations, professional groups, corporations, schools, churches and other organizations.
We can address a variety of topics:
- Operation Smile's international humanitarian work and our global mission
- Spirit and power of volunteerism to change children's lives
- The plight of children suffering from clefts and the power of a smile
- Cause marketing and corporate social responsibility
- Fundraising and technology
- History of Operation Smile
Coordinate with friends and family to sew, collect or prepare specific supplies that we need for our medical missions.
Urgently needed items
We have an urgent need for the following items: travel-sized toothpaste (at least 6 months from expiration date), child-sized toothbrushes, thin 8.5 x 11" coloring books, 8-count box of non-toxic crayons, non-toxic liquid bubbles, puzzles and pull toys.
After receiving surgery, each child receives a Smile Bag which is filled with small personal care items as well as 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.
Medical Record Supplies
During each medical mission for patient screening, Operation Smile will set up a complete office for check-in arrival. 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.
Child Life Therapy Supplies
The Operation Smile Child Life Station is a place where children can relax and play before surgery. We accept new and gently used stuffed animals, arts and crafts supplies, liquid bubbles and other toys to help with screening, pre-surgical and post-surgical play therapy. At the completion of the medical mission, these items are donated to the hospital pediatric departments for future use.
Quilts, Blankets & Afghans
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 children, this will be the first blanket they’ve ever owned.
A visit to the hospital can be scary. Smile Dolls are used by our child life therapists to alleviate the fear of anesthesia masks, stethoscopes and needles while communicating what to expect during their medical procedure.
No-No Arm Bands
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.
A clean, fun hospital gown will bring joy to a child’s face before and after surgery. Yet hospitals in low- and middle-income countries have few or no resources to provide them. A gown pattern is available from Operation Smile. Please contact us for more information.
Service Organization Partnerships
Our service organization partners are committed to raising money and volunteering their time and talent to strengthen what Operation Smile can do for children and families who are hurting. Here are two examples of outstanding service organization partnerships:
General Federation of Women's Clubs
The General Federation of Women's Clubs (GFWC), one of the world's largest women's volunteer service organizations, has supported Operation Smile for more than 20 years. They've raised money for medical missions and donated handmade quilts, blankets, hospital gowns, smile bags, and collected personal hygiene products and toys. Many GFWC members, as medical professionals, have accompanied us on medical missions. During our long partnership, they have raised more than $1 million through their Outreach for Children program to benefit Operation Smile.
Operation Smile thanks all GFWC members for their ongoing support and for recognizing that every child deserves the chance to smile.
Rotary International is one of the largest service organizations in the world. Over the years, Rotarians around the world have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to support our medical missions. Operation Smile depends on these donations to help more children live happier, healthier lives. One of the ways in which clubs have contributed significant financial support is through the Rotary Foundation's Humanitarian Grants Program. Operation Smile received its first matching grant in 1991 for its international mission to Panama. Since then, Rotarians partnering with Operation Smile have successfully organized matching grants to assist children in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras, India, Jordan, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Nicaragua, Peru, Philippines, Romania, Thailand and Venezuela. Local Rotarian volunteers in our partner countries have actively participated during our medical missions as interpreters, unpacking cargo and by lending a helping hand wherever they can.
Operation Smile would like to extend its deepest appreciation to all the Rotarians for your financial support and for the thousands of hours of volunteer time you have given to help children in need.