Sewing Smiles

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They aren’t surgeons, but a group of Florida seamstresses are stitching up something very special for the operating room – hospital gowns.  Operation Smile repairs facial deformities for children in many of the world’s poorest countries.  As Reed Galin reports, these patients go into surgery draped in long-distance love.

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(Spring Hill, Florida)

In a garage in Spring Hill, Florida, you can hear the gentle hum of hope.

Kay Winter/Member, First United Methodist Church: “I think there are about 10 yards on here.”

Kay Winter of First United Methodist Church turned her garage into a sewing room. She and the other ladies are putting smiles on the faces of children who don’t smile a lot.

Kay Winter: “The children we’re helping with these are children with harelip and cleft palate.  These children just absolutely have nothing.”

They’re children in poor, developing countries who were born with facial deformities.

Kay Winter: “They’re so very disfigured that life is nothing for them. Now we just can’t let that happen!”

The women of the Spring Hill Service League are sewing hospital gowns for the children to wear while they’re undergoing reconstructive surgery. So far, they’ve sent over 120 gowns and 52 quilts to children around the world. It takes Gertrude Murphy about three hours to make a gown for a girl or boy she’ll never meet.

Gertrude Murphy:  “No, I never will but I’ll know I was a part of it.  So that makes you feel good.”

Kay Winter:  “Here we have all little trains. I think some little boy is going to be really happy with that.”

Kay Winter: “When they get these gowns, they will know there is such a thing called Sponge Bob and Bob the Builder and Scooby Doo.”

They’re not surgeons and can’t heal the faces of those children.  But in one garage, they can sew a new beginning…one smile at a time.


Operation Smile has been in existence for over 20 years. During that time, the organization has repaired deformities for over 90 thousand children, in 25 developing countries. For more information, log onto: