By Jillian Amodio
Edie Deegan and Anders Hansen, two high school seniors from Severna Park, are embodying the true meaning of community and giving back this season.
The teens started their own nonprofit called Snacks4Smiles to deliver doughnuts to residents in assisted living facilities. Deegan says the idea came to her when she was waiting to pick up her brother from his shift at famed establishment The Donut Shack.
“I saw that they had to throw away a ton of donuts that hadn’t been sold,” she says. “I figured I could talk to the owners about donating them instead.”
The sweet treats could instead be used to deliver a smile to an isolated population, the teens concluded.
“The reason we wanted to donate specifically to the elderly,” says Hansen, “was that, especially for those in assisted living facilities, one of the things they most enjoy in their life is being visited by loved ones. But because of being high risk during the pandemic, they have been struggling with loneliness and we wanted to do something nice for them.”
Both teens plan to major in business when they head off to college next year. They paired their passion for business with a passion for service and enlisted the help of Hansen’s father to make Snacks4Smiles an actual nonprofit. They not only wanted to help bring smiles to those who are isolated, but also provide leadership opportunities to other high school seniors and reduce food waste. To date, they’ve delivered over 6,000 doughnuts to area seniors.
“Even though we can’t make face-to-face contact, we still hear from those who receive our donations and they get so excited for Tuesday delivery, so just knowing that people are happy and we are making a difference is really rewarding,” says Deegan.
While the business idea was born from the pandemic, there is no end in sight for their ambitions. Even after the pair head off to college, they plan to play active roles in the Snacks4Smiles operation while handing delivery responsibilities to other high school seniors. They plan on expanding their snack items to include an assortment of treats from local businesses.
Both Deegan and Hansen feel strong ties to the community and consider it their duty to give back as often as they can.
“Our community has done a lot for us. It is our responsibility to give back just as much as we have gotten from it,” Hansen says.