As local hospital staff work tirelessly during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, Operation Smile and its student volunteers want to continue showing appreciation by donating lunches to those on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Allegra Williams, a junior at Horace Mann School in the Bronx, is heading up the initiative, Serving Smiles, in the New York City area.
“People are generous and they’re donating money to Serving Smiles. This means I can work with local restaurants to purchase meals to be delivered to local hospitals for their employees. We all have a part to play and I want to do my part by showing gratitude and support and this is one way of me doing just that,” said Williams.
The 17-year-old has organized meals to be delivered to Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan and Mt. Sinai Elmhurst in Queens. The deliveries will take place throughout the week with a special message. “Since student volunteers in my area can’t make the actual deliveries for safety reasons – we’ve recorded video messages that will be shared with hospital employees,” said Williams.
Operation Smile’s Serving Smiles program is being replicated across the country with the organization’s student volunteers spearheading the initiative.
“We have 900 student clubs and these kids are jumping into action. The initiative launched this month and it brings much-needed business to restaurants, shows support and appreciation to those on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic, and empowers students to give back during a time of dire need,” said Kathy Magee, Co-Founder and President of Operation Smile.
For student volunteers who are delivering the donated meals directly to hospitals, like 16-year-old Ellie Wilson of Virginia, social distancing guidelines are being followed along with wearing personal protective equipment to ensure donations are made with safety as a priority.
“Every small act of kindness helps – especially when others are putting their lives on the line to help protect yours,” said Wilson.
People can support the Serving Smiles program by donating at https://bit.ly/osservingsmiles
About Operation Smile: Operation Smile has provided hundreds of thousands of safe surgeries for those born with cleft lip and cleft palate. With more than three decades of expertise, Operation Smile creates solutions that deliver free surgery to people where it’s needed most. As one of the largest medical volunteer-based nonprofits, Operation Smile has mobilized thousands of medical volunteers from a wide range of medical specialties from more than 80 countries. Operation Smile engages public-private partnerships to advance health care delivery, train local medical professionals to provide surgical care for patients in their communities, donate crucial medical equipment and supplies, and increase access to surgical care so that everyone living with cleft is treated. Visit operationsmile.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Instagram and Twitter.