Project Smile is a federally tax exempt non-profit organization which donates new and previously owned stuffed animals, coloring books/crayons, small toys and children's reading books for police officers, fire fighters and paramedics to give to children. The goal of Project Smile is to provide all emergency responders throughout New England and eventually throughout the nation, with a continual supply of comfort items to help ease the pain and fear of traumatized children.
Very few police officers or firefighters have anything to give to a child. Please help PROJECT SMILE reach its goal of collecting enough stuffed animals for every emergency responder in New England to always have one to give to a hurting child.
Why do the police, fire fighters and paramedics need stuffed animals? They give them to children who are
- Accident Victims
- Crime Victims
- Witnesses to a Crime
- Experiencing Traumatic Event
- Coping with Loss
- Sick and/or Injured
An email excerpt from Kim, a mother whose 7 year old daughter received a stuffed animal and coloring book/crayons from police and fire fighters after being involved in a car accident:
"I want to thank your organization for everything that you do… I had never heard or seen your organization before but fully believe after our experience that it is a blessing to all children that go through a traumatizing experience… Your organization is so necessary during times like we experienced."
Project Smile also partners with the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (formerly Department of Social Services) by donating stuffed animals, coloring books/crayons and reading books for children entering foster care in the Commonwealth. There are currently 8,000 children in Massachusetts in foster care each year, most of whom enter foster care with few, if any, personal possessions. A gift of a stuffed animal offers these children, who have been involved in very painful circumstances, a source of comfort.
In 2010, Project Smile expanded to partner with homeless shelters by donating stuffed animals, coloring books/crayons and reading books for children living in shelters. According to the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless, in October 2006, more than 1,400 families were staying in the state’s emergency shelter system each night. This included nearly 3,000 children --- half of whom were preschoolers. Given these numbers the Coalition estimates that more than 3,000 families will be sheltered in state funded shelter during the course of the year.
Project Smile launched the Operation Elder Care program which provides elderly patients who are transitioning to life in a nursing home with a gift of a stuffed animal. The stuffed animals are designed to ease some of the trauma that the elderly experience when they are making that incredibly difficult transition to life in a nursing home. The gift of a stuffed animal at such a time not only provides a soft item that can be held, but is also a tangible gesture of warmth and compassion, both of which are greatly needed.
Project Smile maintains a reserve supply of stuffed animals for use after large scale disasters. Within days of Hurricane Katrina, Project Smile partnered with Paul Davis Restoration and had 3,700 stuffed animals driven directly to the Houston Astrodome for the thousands of children staying there who had lost all of their belongings in that horrific storm. In November 2007, in response to the devastating California wildfires, Project Smile shipped approximately 500 stuffed animals to Southern California to help the many children who lost their homes and most of their possessions.
For more information on how you can help, feel free to contact Catherine Pisacane via email at