PMHS Operation Smile club delivers meals to front-line workers

The Operation Smile organization works to perform life changing surgeries on children with cleft lips and palates in over 30 countries. The non profit organization is supported by volunteers from over 60 different countries worldwide. 

Pelham Memorial High School students began their branch of Operation Smile in 2018. The club was started by PMHS seniors Ellianna Bryan, Grayce Cooper, and Juliana Cortale, and has been raising money to donate to Operation Smile in order to fund surgeries to children with cleft lips and palates yearly. The club, led by PMHS social worker Kristen Quintano and presidents Bryan, Cooper, and Cortale, has raised around $4,000 to donate to the Operation Smile Organization over the past two school years. 

With the current state of the world due to Covid-19, cleft palate surgeries have been put on hold by the Operation Smile organization. The club recently switched gears to support local businesses and front-line workers, and launched a new campaign called ‘Serving Smiles’.

“Operation Smile normally supports surgical missions for children with cleft lip and cleft palates,” Bryan said. “Due to the current situation, they switched their funds over to COVID-19 relief. We wanted to show our appreciation for front-line workers and find a way to help out during these unprecedented times. ‘Serving Smiles’ was the perfect opportunity for us to give thanks to our front-line workers while also supporting local restaurants.” 

Over a span of two weeks, the club raised $1,625 through a GoFundMe campaign in order to partner with and purchase meals from local restaurants GoGreek and Cantina Lobos. Students from the club delivered 50 meals from GoGreek on May 20th, along with handmade cards from club members to New York Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital in Bronxville. The students partnered with Cantina Lobos later that same week to deliver 60 meals to the same hospital on May 22nd.

“Doing something like this meal delivery felt really good. It was nice to know I was doing my part,” Cortale said. “Even though it was a small gesture to help during these tough times, it felt so good to see how happy the meals made the front-line workers!”

“Even though supporting small businesses and healthcare workers wasn’t the initial purpose for the club,” Cortale went on to say, “[Serving Smiles] was a great project that the Operation Smile Foundation started to match what’s currently happening in the world.” The club is proud of its efforts to support the Operation Smile Organization, as well as Pelham businesses and healthcare workers, and hopes everyone can do their part to thank essential workers during this difficult time.