HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - Putting a smile on someone’s face can change the course of their day, and that's what people are doing throughout Hampton Roads during these trying times.
The lawn outside the Virginia Beach Psychiatric Center was covered with emojis, hearts and signs of gratitude. One sign read, "Heroes Work Here."
Virginia Beach Psychiatric Center CEO Kurt Hooks said, “Honestly, it couldn’t have come at a better time. Our staff was really encouraged and it was very, very well-deserved because we have an incredible team here.”
A similar set-up outside the Virginia Beach Sheriff's Office by Front Yard Friends helped put signs to say thanks to the deputies, medical staff and civilians who work inside the jail.
Front Yard Friends has been been around for 17 years and they normally decorate for graduations and other occasions, but now they have been busy creating messages to many on the front lines of the fight against the coronavirus.
They are hired to work, but said they have also put up several messages as a donation.
“We’re able to go out in the middle of the night and deliver smiles,” said Janice Wilke, Front Yard Friends owner. “We call it delivering smiles all over Hampton Roads and the Tidewater area.”
Scrolling online through social media, it’s not hard to find act of kindness and organizations taking action for others.
“We went to our warehouse and we’ve given everything out that we have - all the masks, gowns,” said Kathy Magee, Co-Founder of Operation Smile. “Everything is out to our local hospitals.”
Student volunteers with Operation Smile have also been delivering lunch to hospital employees in our region this week. This both feeds the employees of the hospitals and helps local restaurants struggling right now.
They said the initiative, Serving Smiles, launched Thursday as volunteers delivered nearly 100 lunch meals to employees at Bon Secours DePaul Medical Center in Norfolk and Sentara Princess Anne Hospital in Virginia Beach.
“Our staff at Sentara Princess Anne Hospital (SPAH) is very appreciative of the generosity and thoughtfulness of the Operation Smile team. This incredible team is putting smiles on our hospital’s clinical care staff with their delicious luncheon surprise! A special thank you from all of us at the SPAH,” said Paul Gaden, President of Sentara Princess Anne Hospital.
“It feels good for us to be able to give back, and it feels good to be able to keep our restaurants open,” said Magee.
Strangers are working to help others get through this difficult period.
“We know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and it really helps us get to that light,” said Hooks.