Smiles for the Kids is a grassroots initiative operating in Modiin, Israel, with a mission to bring happiness and comfort to the families of soldiers and those impacted by the ongoing war. In the wake of the tragic events of October 7 and the call-up of 350,000 soldiers, it became apparent that this was not a short-term conflict, and our soldiers would be away for extended periods, some for months on end.
Some friends from America joined forces with us and provided funds to help bring joy to these families. We used these funds to create and deliver candy platters to the children of several families who were connected to us, even though we had never met them before. On that first Friday following the start of the war, my 10-year-old son and I went to deliver these platters.
I remember standing at the door of a stranger's home where a mother was busy preparing for Shabbat with her children. When we rang the doorbell, a child inside asked, "Mommy, is daddy home for Shabbat?" To which the mom replied, "No, it's just a kind neighbor checking on us." When they opened the door and the kids saw the candy platter, their faces lit up, and they eagerly embraced the sweets, while the mom teared up with gratitude. In another house, we found two sisters, one of them pregnant, who had moved in together with their families because both of their husbands had been called up to the army. When they received the package along with a note conveying that people from around the world were thinking of their husbands, they broke down in tears.
Amidst all the stress and struggles, the prevailing narrative is often doom and gloom, something children should never have to endure. Our aim is to reach as many of these families as possible, to bring a little joy and smiles into their lives, reminding them that we are all one family. Their family is our family, our heroes are their soldiers, and all of us are praying for the safe and speedy return of their loved ones.
Additionally, there are thousands of displaced families who have been through unimaginable hardship, witnessing and experiencing things no one should ever have to endure. We endeavor to reach out to as many of these families as we can, attempting to divert their focus from painful memories and provide a touch of joy and positivity.
Local businesses, including caterers, party planners, candy stores, and home cooks, are also facing financial hardship. With businesses closed and parties canceled, many have lost their livelihoods for the time being. By partnering with these local businesses to send treats and joy to the affected families, we can support both sides of the equation, helping more people in the process.
We kindly ask for your support by contributing whatever you can and sharing our cause with your friends and network. Together, we can make a meaningful difference in the lives of those affected by this ongoing crisis.