The children liked it so much that Allen and Jeffrey decided to repeat the service every three months. They also felt it was such a great experience that they resolved to make the experience possible for more children than their own.
Allen says, "Of course we want to help poverty-stricken areas of the world - and places in our own state where people live everyday with nothing. And this happens when we first teach our children - the children in the world who have the everyday things they need to survive - to look around, see the need, and serve."
After many prayers, much thought, and plenty of input from their husbands, they came up with a plan to hold projects in the church gymnasiums of their wards in American Fork, Utah. They called the club Serving with Smiles: Children Saving the World.
Without resources to fund the first few projects, money came out of their own pockets to make it possible. But they were more than willing to provide the support. "We were so excited to spread the joy that Liz and I have found in our own lives through service to the lives of our children, their friends, and many others," says Allen.
After the first project in May 2007, the excitement began to spread. Many came wishing to volunteer, with fifty to one hundred people of all ages coming each time. Humanitarian bracelets, quilts, picture books, ABC books, baby yarn blocks, and foam shapes were worked on diligently. A group of scouts helped set up and take down chairs and tables each time, and most of the children who came each month contributed five dollars, which is a little more than half the cost of a project.
Allen and Jeffrey's hard work and service has paid off as the humanitarian kits have been sent to Africa, Guatemala, an Indian reservation, Afghanistan, and Iraq. "We feel that when children are immersed in serving people they do not know and have never met, they begin to transform into the selfless, outreaching children we all know they can be," says Jeffrey. "And when children are focused on others and working hard to make our society and families better, they literally change the world."
Visit servingwithsmiles.com if you would like to help.