Smile Bag hopes to give local kids a boost

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Smile Bags to four lucky local girls at Chozen Surf this week includes Paris Young, Summah Young, Emily King and Grace Flanagon.

MURWILLUMBAH BUSINESS Chozen Surf has helped set up an innovative idea that’s helping put a smile on the faces of local kids in the form of gift bags, following the recent natural disaster and lengthy clean up.

Known as “The Smile Bag”, the idea was developed by Chelle Wallace, who is one of the administrators of the Facebook page “Flood Clean Up 2484”, and a local resident of South Murwillumbah, Nikki Ruttland who approached Chozen Surf with an idea to bless those children impacted by the floods.

Chozen Surf owners Willow and Jason Bolt said the program aims to bring a smile and hope to those kids and young people who have lost all their much-loved possessions, which were destroyed by the recent natural disaster.

Since launching the campaign the surf shop has since been inundated with residents wanting to get involved.

“The last week we have heard heart-breaking stories from mums, grandmas and concerned neighbours who want to give something new to their amazing resilient children who helped through a tough time,” she said.

“They want to replace a few of the things they have lost, however they are having to spend whatever spare money they have to fix their homes first.”

Mrs Bolt said the business had so far completed five teenage girl Smile Bags which were handed out on Monday, April 24, but more are desperately needed.

“Jason and I have donated the backpacks filling them with products that have been generously donated by other businesses such as Priceline, Murwillumbah Newsagents and other individuals,” she said.

“We have a display cabinet in store at Chozen Surf where people can drop off donations.”

Mrs Bolt said the program is also developing a waiting list which now has more than 20 requests for Smile Bags.

“And I’m sure that number will increase during the next few days and weeks,” Willow said.
Chozen Surf is also contacting large suppliers to see whether they can join the community initiative with exciting items for kids.

“Items we are asking for include cool cute stationary and journals, costume jewellery and hair appliances including hair, body and makeup products. Gift cards, underwear, clothing, caps, gaming consoles, games, controllers, Pokémon cards, cool toys for boys and balls. We also need bedroom décor and special keep sakes, plus any other items for children.”

Mrs Bolt said a lot of local support was still needed to get the Smile Bag project off the ground.

“It would really help to generate more momentum for this project so we can quickly fill the other bags and get them out into the community,” she said.

To find out more or make a donation visit Chozen Surf at 14 Wharf Street, Murwillumbah, or phone the shop on (02) 6672 7611.