Founded in 2003, Project Smile is a federally tax exempt non-profit organization dedicated to helping people in need through 2 signature programs: Suits & Smiles and Smiles for Children.
Smiles for Children donates stuffed animals, coloring books/crayons and children's reading books for police officers, fire fighters and paramedics to give to children. Project Smile has collected over 44,000 stuffed animals and donated to 200 police and fire departments across the country.
Smiles for Children also partners with homeless shelters and the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families by donating stuffed animals, coloring books/crayons and reading books for children entering foster care or living in shelters in the Commonwealth. There are currently 7,000 children entering foster care in Massachusetts annually, most of whom with few, if any, personal possessions. A gift of a stuffed animal offers these children, who have been involved in very painful circumstances, a source of comfort.
Why do emergency responders need stuffed animals? They give them to children who are
- Accident victims
- Victims of abuse or other crimes
- Witnesses to a crime
- Experiencing a traumatic event
- Coping with loss
- Sick and/or injured
An email excerpt from Kim, a mother whose 7 year old daughter received a stuffed animal and coloring book/crayons from police and fire fighters after being involved in a car accident:
"I want to thank your organization for everything that you do. I had never heard or seen your organization before but fully believe after our experience that it is a blessing to all children that go through a traumatizing experience. Your organization is so necessary during times like we experienced."
In January 2020, Project Smile launched Suits & Smiles, a program which provides interview & work attire for men in need. Suits & Smiles serves men throughout the region at our Jamaica Plain location. Our goal is to empower low income men to attain the jobs they need to improve their lives and become financially independent.
This important service is offered to men of all ages and ethnic backgrounds, including recipients of public assistance, the disabled, recovering addicts, veterans, those recently released from prison and others who face barriers to acquiring a job and retaining it. Click here for more info on Suits & Smiles.