A Community Group Helps Bring Sunshine for Terminally Ill Children

A Sharing Smiles recipient, Atticus, enjoys the package’s contents.

Sharing Smiles—Team Meagan was born three years ago when Cari Rickman wanted to give back after losing her daughter who was awaiting a third heart transplant. Working closely with Jars of Hope “Inspired by Caroline,” they hope to send children who are sick a package that puts a smile on their face.

The packages are sent to hospitalized, chronically ill or terminally ill children, 2 to 15 years old. For the younger kids, they send blankets, coloring books and crayons, and other toys they can play with. For the teen program, Rickman sends beanies, socks, earbuds and a few other things with a blanket. Since the children are often in the hospital for long periods of time, Rickman focuses on only sending particular items in the packages. “I want to give them stuff they can actually play with and use,” Rickman says.

“Everything that we send is donated,” Rickman explains. BlueCross BlueShield sends in some blankets, but Rickman says it’s mostly private individuals who donate. In their first two and a half years, Sharing Smiles has been able to send more than 600 packages to all 50 states and other parts of the world.

Sharing Smiles also gives back to parents who have lost a child to a terminal illness. “We have an angel program where we send ceramic angels out to moms that have lost children that year,” Rickman says. “We do it to let them know someone is thinking of them.”

Sharing Smiles—Team Meagan
P.O. Box 252, Willernie; 904.517.3717