Hope House spreads joy with “Smile Boxes”

Submitted article and photograph featuring Patty Morlan and Kathy Kippley presenting the Smile Boxes to Megan Blaschko at the Northwoods Battered Women’s Shelter for shelter residents.

When adults with long-term mental illness realized that the general public was struggling as much as they were during the COVID-19 pandemic, Hope House Bemidji members got to work and shared what they knew about coping with stress.

“We decided to make Smile Boxes full of inspirational items to lift people up,” said one member.

“People were having depression and anxiety, like we have.  It helped me feel good knowing I could share what I’ve learned to make a better world for other people.”

Set in an appealing display box consisting of a journal, lip balm, stress ball,  puzzle, relaxing stress goo, inspirational quotes, body balm, and a positive phrase magnet, each item was handmade by Hope House members in the drop-in center, then donated to the North Woods Battered Women’s Shelter for resident self-care and encouragement.

The Smile Boxes were enthusiastically received.

Hope House members say it was so much fun to make, and so rewarding to give, that they plan to make more Smile Boxes in the future to give away.


Larissa Donovan is the News Director for the stations of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and has been, almost without interruption, since Election Day 2016. She covers all the beats in north-central Minnesota, such as local government, crime, education, environment and social issues. She studied communications at Bemidji State University. You can follow along with Larissa's live tweets of meetings and events on Twitter!


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