GREENSBORO, N.C. — Normally, 16-year-old Hetti Price-Bailey is busy with after-school clubs and basketball. But these days, thanks to the pandemic, her schedule is pretty empty.
Instead of lamenting her lost social life, the North Carolina teen decided to use the spare time to bring joy to others.
"It's such a good time to give back," she said.
She started an organization called "Hetti's Smile Boxes," inspired by posts she saw on Instagram from another girl her age. The purpose of her mission was to send personalized care packages to children going through difficult times.
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The rising sophomore started an Instagram account, @hettissmileboxes and started raising money through a GoFundMe account online. Each box costs about $42.
Parents or friends can nominate a recipient via Instagram. Hetti gathers information about the child's interests and picks toys and gifts to match their preferences, then adds a custom, handmade card.
Smile boxes bring cheer to sick kids
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Most of the recipients have cancer or other life-threatening illnesses, but Hetti said she's also given boxes to kids dealing with depression.
So far, she's raised more than $1,100 and gifted 23 boxes to recipients who live as far away as California.
Hetti says she always appreciates seeing videos of kids opening up their packages.
"I love seeing people happy and smiling," she said.
You can support Hetti's mission by clicking here.