Kate Smolich found her calling to start the Beanie Love Foundation when she was 13 years old. After a lifetime of battling her own life-altering disease, she wanted to provide encouragement and inspiration to others. The foundation offers these children friendship, prayer, support and hope through giving of time and gift packages. Most importantly, the Beanie Love Foundation serves as a reminder that we are all in this together.
OUR MISSION STATEMENT
Our mission is to spread hope, joy, and love to children and their families fighting life-altering diseases. We believe small acts of kindness and love can bring light in a dark place. It is our heart to be Jesus' hands reaching out to people through our prayers, Hope Packs, programs, and support.
meet our founder
Kate started Beanie Love Foundation in 2009 at the age of 13 when God gave her a heart and a vision to help other children and teens fighting life-altering diseases like hers. Kate was diagnosed with a rare disease called Ehlers-Danlos Hypermobility Syndrome at the age of 13. She was also diagnosed with common variable immune deficiency at the age of 19. Through her fight with EDS, Kate has learned that even a small act of kindness during a dark time can bring hope and love.
Kate has never let her life-altering diseases stop her from going after her dreams and living her life to the fullest while appreciating the little blessings in life. Although she has had many setbacks and challenges including having to relearn how to walk again twice, the Lord has given her the strength to keep fighting and incredible joy. She has enjoyed playing adaptive golf even while wheelchair-bound and now plays adaptive golf with a bionic assist device that moves her leg for her. She also loves to be artistic and creative and show others that nothing is impossible with God, and that He can take anyone's story and make it into something beautiful to show His glory. Kate wants others to know that with the help of the Lord, no matter how dark it may get, you can overcome anything, and that there is always a light of hope at the end of the tunnel if you don’t give up.
OUR SERVICES AND hOPE PACKS
Beanie Love Foundation brings hope to children and teens fighting life-altering diseases through Hope Packs, support, Adventure Bags, Melody Makers of Hope program, Encourager Squad program, Christmas Hope Houses, Christmas Cheer Packages, Hope-Filled Christmas packages, prayer, and friendship. A Hope Pack is a personalized drawstring bag with the child’s name on it, and inside is a devotional, a joke book for children, a personal letter of encouragement written by our founder to the child, access to our uplifting Spotify playlist, and toys and activities chosen specifically for the child based on what he or she likes and is interested in, and sometimes an item for the disease that makes treatments a little nicer. They also receive a beanie if they have cancer or are going through treatment that would cause them to lose their hair. Each Hope Pack is customized, and every item is hand-wrapped to make the child feel special.
To date, we have delivered over 200 Hope Packs to Courageous Warriors, and we hope to deliver 4oo Hope Packs in the next 5 years.
Our Adventure Bags are a one of kind experience for courageous warriors who are hospitalized or going through infusion treatments in the hospital. Each bag includes a set of Adventure Bags for the child to choose from. Every adventure is filled with excitement, and fun through a journey of different crafts and activities to accomplish the adventure they have chosen. During the pandemic, many children were put into isolation and were no longer receiving all of the incredible resources usually offered to them including child life. so we started brainstorming ways to help encourage children who were stuck in the hospital for days, weeks, and even months at a time. Then we came up with adventure bags and our two other programs explained below. Our Adventure Bags help transport children out of their hospital room and enter into a magical world of adventure and bravery. Some of our adventures have included Space Adventure, Forest Adventure, Ocean Adventure, Cowboy Adventure, Safari Adventure, and so many more.
As mentioned above our Encourager Squad program was created during the pandemic to help offer a way for other children, groups, and people to be able to help encourage and provide hope to our Courageous Warriors. Volunteers email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a list of children who could use a boost of encouragement and hope. Once they have chosen a child to encourage they then pick a way to encourage their warrior. Options include making a short video of encouragement, making cards, blankets, small gift boxes, or whatever they can think of that would make their warrior smile. once they have chosen a project they contact us to have it signed off on and for us to provide information that will help them. this is a great opportunity for children, businesses, groups, athletes, and families.
If you are a singer or musician then our Melody Makers Of Hope program just might be the best way for you to help bring hope, encouragement, and smiles to a child facing some of their hardest and darkest days. Volunteers sign up for this virtual program by sending us an email. They will then receive a list of our warriors favorite songs that they have requested. Next you pick a song on the list and let us know so we can then provide you with more information on the child you will be singing for. After this comes the fun part you then make a video saying your warrior's name, a short word of encouragement, and then sing their favorite song. We encourage our Melody Makers to have fun and be creative but please keep everything appropriate and G rated as this is for children. Once you have finished you then send us your video and we will then upload it on our Instagram and Facebook page so your warrior can see it and can watch it whenever they need a boost of encouragement. To see some of our past Melody Makers Of Hope you can click on the links below or go to our Instagram page. This is such a fun and unique way to encourage a child and use your gifts to help provide hope to a child.
Our Christmas Programs
During Christmas time we do a few programs including our A Hope-Filled Christmas for children spending Christmas time in the hospital at local hospitals in Arizona, Christmas Hope Houses for our Courageous warrior families in Arizona for families with one or more children fighting a life-altering disease, disability, or injury and our Christmas Cheer boxes that provide a Christmas activity night for families with one or more children fighting a life-altering disease, disability, or injury.
A Hope-Filled Christmas Package is a magical Christmas bag filled with a Build A Bear full-size bear, a soft Christmas blanket, a Christmas gel window cling, a Christmas coloring book, Spot it (a matching card game), a Christmas book, Christmas Mad libs, Christmas paint by sticker book, and a few other small items. Every year many children will spend Christmas in the hospital getting chemo and other treatments. We started A Hope-Filled Christmas Package after I had spent Christmas time one year in the hospital in isolation for most of it, meaning I could not leave my room. So the only Christmas I had was what was brought in from Child-life specialists or my family. We want children and their families who will be spending Christmas in the hospital to be able to experience the magic of Christmas and know that they are loved, and people are thinking of them. This year we will be making 15 Hope-Filled Christmas packages 10 for a local county hospital that serves children in Arizona with some of the most severe burns on their pediatric Burn unit as well as local children who need help on their pediatric ward and 5 for children that will be spending Christmas time in the hospital for different treatments that we know of. Over the past few years, we have delivered 103 Hope-Filled Christmas packages to children spending Christmas time in the hospital. The nurses and staff have nicknamed these bags "Christmas in a bag" as they have said that when they deliver a bag to a child it brings the magic of Christmas into their hospital room as the child gets to open up multiple gifts just for them.
Our Christmas Hope Houses started in 2020 after so many of our families were hit extremely hard by the pandemic and had to continue treatments and hospital visits for their child or children fighting a life-altering disease, disability, or injury. We knew we wanted to make our families feel extra special, loved, and seen during Christmas. Each Christmas Hope House is decorated like a giant gingerbread house and is filled to the brim with hand-selected gifts and toys chosen for each child in the family. Every gift is hand-wrapped and we also include our Christmas Cheer Package.
Our Christmas Cheer Package is a box filled with a fun activity night for the whole family. These packages are given to families with one or more children fighting a life-altering disease, disability, or life-altering injury. each box includes a sugar cookie baking set, including sugar cookie mix, cookie cutters, frosting, and sprinkles. The box also includes a Christmas-themed book as well as a game or activity to do together. Our Christmas Cheer Packages is our small way of showing our families that we see them and care for them. These Packages help our families have all they need to make lifelong memories as a family.
If you would like to help with any our Christmas programs mentioned above you can give through our tax-deductible donation, shop our Amazon wishlist below, and follow us on Instagram for updates on ways to help and items we need.