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At Operation Smile, we’re more than a charity – we’re a family of compassionate individuals connected by the common thread of creating a positive impact in the lives of children and families living with cleft conditions.  

As a part of the Donor Care team, I’ve had the privilege of witnessing firsthand the incredible generosity of our partners and volunteers and the profound impact of their contributions. 

I’d like to share with you the story of the Teddy Bear Ladies, a group of knitters who wanted to deliver smiles. 

Sharon, a member of the Teddy Bear Ladies, reached out to Operation Smile Canada to share their vision of donating hand-knitted teddy bears and smile bags created by her and her community, a gesture of love she believed would bring comfort to children facing challenging times. 

Sharon and her partner set out on a 2-hour drive to personally deliver 100 teddy bears, each unique to the maker who added their own signature styles, and 100 smile bags to our head office in Toronto. It was a powerful moment that showcased the lengths to which our community goes to make a positive impact. 

The magic happened when these teddy bears embarked on a new journey – from a simple phone call to landing in the arms of children in the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, and Honduras during our surgical programs in November and December.  

Volunteers who delivered them expressed that the joy they witnessed on the faces of these young patients as they received these teddy bears was truly a special moment, exactly as Sharon had envisioned. 

The ripple effect of Sharon’s donation extended beyond borders. The heartfelt photos captured during these moments not only brought smiles to the faces of the children but also to our entire Operation Smile team. It was a powerful reminder of the significance of our work and the real impact each contribution has on the lives of those we serve. 

Connecting partners and volunteers with those we serve is at the heart of what we do, and it’s a journey filled with hope, compassion, and unwavering dedication.  

Together, we have the power to transform lives and bring smiles to the faces of children who need it the most. Thank you to the Teddy Bear Ladies and to the volunteers who delivered the bears beyond our borders. 

Tenzin Dolker, Donor Care Associate

Donors and Volunteers made this story possible. Thank you.