Project Smile was born after Catherine Pisacane read a newspaper article about three brothers in New Jersey who were starved by their adoptive parents. When the police arrived to remove the brothers from the house, an officer gave one of the children a small stuffed tiger that he had with him. The child clung to it during his entire time at the police station and refused to let it go. Catherine told us at our meeting of March 15 that after reading the article, she wanted to start a program which would allow as many police officers as possible to have something to give to a hurting child. She says that a stuffed animal may be small, but its significance is huge.  Catherine has dedicated her time and energy to Project Smile on a full-time basis since 2004.  The organization began by providing stuffed animals to police departments but has expanded to include fire departments and other agencies, as well as adding coloring books, crayons, reading books and even toothbrushes to the list of items they provide.  Police, firefighters, and paramedics give the stuffed animals and other items to children who are victims of accidents, crimes, or who are ill or experiencing a variety of other traumatic events.  The charity works with more than 200 police and fire departments, most of which are from Massachusetts, but they've sent their stuffed animals to departments as far away as Alaska.  Read more about Project Smile at their website, and view Catherine's entire presentation to our Club on our Facebook Page.
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