The holiday season is a time for giving, and it doesn’t always have to be about money. One of the most important presents you can give are intangibles, such as time, attention, and conversation. If a fierce broke college woman like myself can find a way to give, you sure can, too.  

At the University of Rhode Island, my sorority Sigma Delta Tau had  the opportunity to go to Hasbro Children’s Hospital and visit patients. Our action? Stuff teddy bears and deliver them to Hasbro’s patients under Operation Smiles. How did we know we accomplished our mission? When we put a smile on every child’s face.

Visiting the Hasbro Children’s Hospital was truly an incredible experience. With our army of 50 teddy bears, we visited the Izzy Room, where children visited, played, and cooked with their families, as well as joined in on pizza parties, movie nights, and comedy shows. We then went door-to-door, and visited patients in their rooms.

No matter how old the children were, they all were happy to receive our teddy bear tidings. It was a little act. We knew the teddy bear may not be enough, but were were trying. When we watched each child’s face light up upon receiving our gift, we knew it was the act of giving that made the teddy bear special. It was a child seeing a perfect stranger notice that they were going through a hard time, and giving them a gift to ease their pain. I was grateful to have had the opportunity to make their day a little better, and I will certainly return again when given the chance!

Simply making someone smile can have an enormous impact. Spark love, humanity, and peace this holiday season, find a way to give back to your community, even if it’s on a Ramen Noodles budget like me.