Do You Know SMILE?

January 31, 2013

SMILE 004On Sunday afternoon, January 27, SMILE held its annual meeting, showcasing how well the past year had provided  for the community. For those who don’t know, SMILE stands for Service Makes Individual Living Exciting. The organization feeds, clothes, and provides emergency assistance to citizens of Calvert County.

The SMILE organization is made up of nine churches, Harvest Fellowship, St. John UMC, Our Lady Star of the Sea, Solomons UMC, Middleham Chapel, St. Paul’s UMC, Southern Calvert Baptist, Eastern UMC, Olivet UMC, and St. Peter’s Chapel. It is 100% volunteer and has no paid staff. The organization serves citizens from Broomes Island Road to Solomons. There are over 20 volunteers working at any given time.

SMILE 001SMILE operates a Thrift Shop and Food Pantry. They fed an average of 3,400 guests each month, providing food on a regular weekly distribution basis to anyone who was hungry. No one is allowed to leave the facility hungry, cold or in need of a shoulder to lean on. The citizens also donate food to the Food Pantry. Also this year they clothed a record number of people and the face of the community needing assistance has grown. The Food Pantry also provided two holiday baskets this year to their registered guests, Thanksgiving and Easter. Smile has established relationships with local groceries, which provide perishables and they also receive deer meat from Farmers and Hunters Feed the Hungry. And the Federal Government gives the food pantry commodity foods for distribution. The American Legion Post 274 in Lusby provides the Legion Hall for SMILE’S Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners, for anyone wishing to attend and carryout dinners for those who weren’t able to make it to the Legion.

SMILE 009The Thrift Shop provides clothing on an allotment basis for children of registered guests. It is also a place for everyone to shop and find treasures. The Thrift Shop funds the many programs that SMILE provides. Items for the thrift shop are donated by the community including clothes, household goods and furniture in usable and good condition.

The past year, SMILE updated its building and parking lot. They installed new freezers and a refrigerator in the Food Pantry, built and installed a new furniture storage building, replaced multiple ceiling tiles and repaired two minor roof leaks. They also updated the parking lots and re-striped them. And they took care of the daily maintenance tasks such as changing out the light bulbs and HVAC filters. The four new freezers and a refrigerator were bought with a grant from the William S Abell Foundation.

SMILE 010This year SMILE was able to serve 12,932 families and give over 300 children school supplies with generous donations from the community. They were also able to assist 121 clients with SMECO bills, 146 with rent, 8 with medical (including medications), 7 with their mortgage, 35 with utilities, and 9 with miscellaneous expenses.

The Food Pantry is open on Wednesday and Thursday from 10 am – 2 pm and on Saturday from 9 am to noon. The Thrift Shop is open on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 10 am – 2 pm and on Saturday from 9 am to noon. Goods are accepted Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 10 am to 1:30 pm and on Saturday from 9 am to 11:30am. SMILE is located at 10290 H G Trueman Rd, Lusby. To find out more information, please visit www.smileinc.org.

Margit Miller / Staff Writer / Editor

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