Two young brothers in Peoria, Arizona, are hoping to bring smiles to COVID-19 patients by sending homemade cards to Valley hospitals.
Hurshneet and Pravneet Chadha said they created "Project Smile AZ" to spread positivity. They got the idea after listening to their parents, who are both doctors, speak about COVID-19 patients going through treatment alone in hospitals.
"We wanted to make them feel accompanied on their journey to get better," said 15-year-old Hurshneet. "We want to make sure everyone is fine, and we want to make sure everyone is happy."
When they started, they delivered 150 cards to Banner Health. The response was so great that they decided to keep going.
"We've had many people reach out to us to send cards to our PO box, as well as hospital CEOs have reached out to us, sending us thank you letters to our email so that made us very proud," he said.
Now, they've distributed 1,200 cards to the Navajo Nation, Circle the City, a nonprofit, and several hospitals in the Valley.
"It helps the patients when we give it to them, and they're saying they put a smile on their faces when they receive them as well, so that's my favorite part," said 12-year-old Pravneet.
Through social media, they've gotten classmates and other groups to donate cards, but they make most of them in their living room.
"We come up with anything that we think would inspire the patient," said Hurshneet. "We put ourselves in the patient's shoes--what would we like for someone to write on a card and what would inspire us in that situation?
The brothers want to keep growing and said they'll continue to make "smile cards" as long as there are COVID_19 patients who need them.
For those who would like to send cards, the mailing address is:
Project Smile AZ
P.O. Box 10477
Glendale, AZ 85318
You can also visit their Facebook page to learn how to donate cards or to make a contribution.