MALIBU—Malibu High School’s Operation Smile Club has started “Serving Smiles” during the COVID-19 pandemic, rather than help provide surgeries for babies with cleft lips and palates.

On each of the last 2 Saturdays, they have been doing so by delivering boxes of food to healthcare workers and emergency responders each Saturday, while carrying signs that read “Serving Smiles.”

Operation Smile was founded in 1982 by Dr. William Magee, a plastic and craniofacial surgeon, and his wife Kathleen, a former nurse and clinical social worker. The former now serves as the Chief Executive Officer while the latter serves as the President of the organization. Schools across the United States, Asia, Africa, and Latin America have formed clubs dedicated to being a part of the project, with students’ learning levels ranging from elementary school to university.

The Operation Smile Club at Malibu High School, which is incidentally the first of its kind on the West Coast, has hosted numerous fundraising events for charity, attended summer leadership conferences, and meets on a regular basis to spread awareness about the non-profit organization. The money raised in auctions and fundraisers is sent to the organization’s headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia.

According to Patch, Sarah Ryan, the school’s librarian and club advisor, paid Spruzzo’s Restaurant and Bar for 30 pizzas and 30 salads despite the establishment offering to provide them for free. Ryan has started a GoFundMe account requesting aid to help cover the cost of the meals. Those interested in donating can also transfer their payment to her Venmo account, “sarah-ryan-47”. Ryan noted that the club would need “about $250 per hospital per week” to keep the project going.

Last Saturday, Ryan and 4 student members – in separate cars with masks, goggles, and gloves – went to UCLA Medical Center and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, feeding over 130 emergency and ICU room workers with pizza, salads, and home-baked goods. They also delivered 50 handmade thank-you cards, made by the Boys & Girls Club of Malibu, in appreciation of their hard work amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. On the previous Saturday, Ryan went to UCLA Medical Center with 2 other students.