Operation Smile is “Sending Hope” to Families in Guatemala


photo via operationsmile.org

Savanna Crawford, Editorial Assistant

People all over the world are struggling right now with things as necessary as healthcare, food, and shelter, and a global pandemic has done nothing to help that. The wonderful people at Operation Smile have stopped and asked themselves the question: “But how can we help?”



Operation Smile is a locally started, volunteer-based non-profit organization that works towards getting children with cleft palates access to surgery and crucial medical equipment and supplies. Currently, Operation Smile is running a campaign called “Sending Hope” in which volunteers collect donations to send to families in need.


“Operation Smile launched an effort to send much-needed support to families in three of their Latin American partner countries, Panama, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. The plan was to partner their student regions with one of these countries,” said senior Sydney Strawbridge, the president of Kempsville’s Operation Smile club. “Virginia was tasked with supporting Guatemala. All of the efforts that are made in Virginia are going directly to support patients and their families who live in Guatemala.” 


The donations that the families in need will receive are all being collected by high schools and colleges across the country who have an Operation Smile club of their own, along with some of their partnering organizations. 


“For the Sending Hope campaign, they offered three different ways that clubs could participate in. The first one was a fundraising component where 100% of the funds that were raised went towards purchasing much-needed food for the patients and their families in Guatemala. The second option was to donate specific, essential sanitary items consisting of disposable masks, hand soap, cloth diapers, and toothbrushes. The last option was to help your local clubs spread the word about Sending Hope,” said Strawbridge.


Strawbridge thinks that the donations that the Guatemalan families receive from Operation Smile will benefit them greatly because not only will they have real food to eat, they will also have access to some of the essential sanitary items to prevent them from diseases, which allows for them to keep working.


Both Strawbridge and the people at Operation Smile have one main goal in the Sending Hope campaign: to give these families a bit of much needed hope in their lives. 


“I personally hope that all of the people in Guatemala receiving these meals and supplies will feel saved. I hope they feel that after months of not knowing when their next meal would be and when they could get sick that they can finally relax and feel safe,” Strawbridge said. “I want them to know that they are not alone and that there are hundreds of thousands of people doing what they can to help give them a better life.”