SMILE is an independent, nonprofit organization that was organized in summer of 1991 when a group of clergy and lay persons from seven religious congregations in southern Calvert County met to address the issues of those in need in Southern Calvert County, specifically those living south of Broomes Island Road. The group chose SMILE for its name and the acronym stands for Service Makes Individual Lives Exciting.
By October 1991, a set of by-laws had been drawn up, and the articles of incorporation filed. We obtained tax-exempt status as a non-profit 501c(3) organization. A board of directors was formed, and officers elected. The SMILE Board of Directors is made up of one clergy member and two lay persons from each of the 11 sponsoring congregations. Programs are guided by volunteer coordinators. As an all-volunteer organization with no paid staff, the Board of Directors take an active role in administering operations.
The first building for SMILE’s operation was the unused parsonage of the Solomons United Methodist Church in Solomons until it was sold. On May 31, 1988, SMILE moved into trailers behind the Solomons Volunteer Fire Department, while plans were made to obtain a building to house SMILE's operations. Through the generous donation of a benefactor and with churches and individuals matching that gift, SMILE was able to build and then move into its own facility in Lusby in 2001. SMILE is located adjacent to Middleham and St. Peter's Episcopal Parish Hall on H.G. Trueman Road in Lusby.
From its beginning, SMILE has operated a Food Pantry that is chiefly supported by a Thrift Store featuring low-cost clothing and household items. Sales from the Thrift Store provide the core of support that makes the Food Pantry and all other SMILE services possible. It has made possible the Emergency Assistance program, which helps SMILE members with emergencies with utility bills, rent, mortgage, prescriptions, and other life necessities.
In addition to these core assistance programs, SMILE sponsors ecumenical worship services, including the Good Friday Procession of the Cross and service, and a Baccalaureate Service for Patuxent High School seniors. A free holiday dinner is offered to the entire community on Christmas Day.