smile project

Smile Project: Caring Pastor/Chaplain Spreads Joy In Nursing Homes

Chuck Kish
Bethel member holding “Smiles From Bethel” poster

(Carlisle, Pennsylvania) – In addition to leading a church, Pastor Chuck Kish is also a very active chaplain. You may find him in his “office” at the local Panera Restaurant, helping out the local police department on difficult calls or teaching EMS workers about some of the key points of chaplaincy.

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“I was actually riding in the back of an ambulance when we got a call to go to a nursing home.” Pastor Chuck shared.

It was there that he realized that everyone was wearing masks. And while the staff were able to pull down their masks during their own meal times, the patients on the COVID unit ate alone without the comfort or companionship of staff or family.

“You could hear happiness, but you couldn’t see it.”

Pastor Chuck sensed sadness with some of the patients.

“I overheard a resident say to one of the workers, ‘Could you please pull your mask down, I have not seen a smile in many, many months.’ ”

Pastor Chuck’s heart was touched and he was inspired to do something.

“I just believe it was something God put in my mind, put in my heart, what if we do these posters with all of our people from Bethel (his church) just smiling?”

With the help of volunteers and the church congregation, the Smile Project was born.

Large “Smiles from Bethel” posters have been distributed to nursing homes in the local area and residents and staff members are thrilled.

Man sitting in a red chair wearing a mask pulled down
Photo Credit: Chuck Kish
Pastor Chuck Kish in the back of an ambulance

“It’s a hit! People are gathering around it, looking at it, laughing.” Pastor Chuck shared.

It’s a simple, innovative way to bring joy to so many who may have otherwise felt forgotten.


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