Caitlin's Smiles - Giving sick children laughs, hopes and smiles.

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Here at Caitlin’s Smiles, we are witness to many incredible acts of giving. Whether it is through volunteering, donations or photos from children in the hospitals, people continue to amaze us with their acts of generosity. We will be sharing these experiences with all of you through our Monthly Smiles stories. So, please come back to visit this page for inspiring stories of giving that happen right here at Caitlin’s Smiles.

September 2017

Each and every one of our days at Caitlin’s Smiles is filled with so many stories, it’s difficult to choose just one to tell. This month, we’ll share how one specific day is filled with many blessings:

On this particular day, Cheryl, Caitlin’s Smiles founder and director, heads out early to Millersburg University for the Extraordinary Give meeting. The Extraordinary Give is an online fundraising day that takes place each year on November 17. Meanwhile at Caitlin’s Smiles headquarters, Karen, the office manager, is preparing for the day. She places a shipment on the loading dock for the shipping company to deliver to some of the hospitals we serve.

Soon, the first group of volunteers arrives to help. On this day, they’re from CarMax of Mechanicsburg. They’ve been here before, and most of them are familiar with what Caitlin’s Smiles does and how to assemble the kits. One of these volunteers brings along her son, Aiden, to help out. It turns out that Aiden has received a “Bag of Smiles” and wants to help other children like himself. This group quickly gets started on foam car kits, pennant kits, and bookmark kits. Shortly after that, two of our regular volunteers, Ruth and Mike, stop by to drop off donations that were collected at the A.B.A.T.E. Blue Mountain Poker Run, an event they organized.

The morning continues with the Cosmopolitan Club, a group of senior citizen volunteers, arriving for their monthly craft kit-making session. Shortly thereafter, our Thursday regulars begin to arrive. Skip arrives to restock the bag-making areas. Rita assists Skip with restocking, then they both proceed to sort and put away donations that have been dropped off over the past few days. Our intern, Chrissa, arrives and jumps right in, helping to make craft and coping kits.

Soon Carol arrives to prepare for her at-home craft night with her friends, pack Bags of Smiles, and collect hospital statistics to enter into the computer. Shortly thereafter, Crystal, a volunteer driver and mom of a Bag of Smiles recipient, arrives to pick up an order of craft kits and Bags of Smiles to deliver to the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. After that, Bobbi arrives for her second week of volunteering. She comes in with bags full of notebooks and crayons to donate and jumps right in by helping to quality-check some craft kits and then make some more kits. Afterward, she helps out by making journals.

The afternoon begins with Marcia arriving to help out at the front desk. For a few hours each week, she answers our phone, greets visitors, and works on quality checking and assembling craft kits. Just about then, Cheryl arrives back at the office from her Extraordinary Give meeting in Millersburg. Following her is a young lady from West Chester University with craft kits that were assembled by her fellow students.

Before we know it, it’s time to close up shop for the day. This day was a whirlwind of activity, with a variety of volunteers doing so many different tasks on many different levels. From hospital deliveries and craft kit-making to order packing and so much more, there’s so much that gets done each day.

Thanks to everyone who takes time out of their days to make our outreach possible. Each time our volunteers and donors volunteer at our office, purchase items, or help out with a fundraiser, the end result is helping hospitalized children throughout the region.

If you would like to volunteer with Caitlin’s Smiles, give us a call at 717-412-4759.

CarMax of Mechanicsburg volunteers

Cosmopolitan Club volunteers