Providing a Year of Sunshine to Families During a Pandemic

By Diane Smith, Executive Director of Spreading Sunshine

I see it time and time again. A volunteer steps up to make a Sunshine card or collect items for a Sunshine Box. It’s something that they might consider a small gesture. But when they realize the joy of children and parents who have spent endless days in a dreary hospital, they often want to do more. 

Giving Back and Making a Difference

Tony Michael, owner of FutureBenefits of America, is one of our community partners. His company sponsored two families for the Year of Sunshine and has helped provide meals for families in the hospital. 

In 2020, Spreading Sunshine kicked off a new program, the Year of Sunshine, with no idea that this year would bring a worldwide health crisis. that would further isolate many medically fragile children and their families.

“It’s nice to know these families are receiving care and support in the midst of this current crisis,” Tony said. 

“It’s nice to know these families are receiving care and support in the midst of this current crisis.”

Tony Michael, owner of FUtureBenefits of America

“My wife Kellee and I volunteered with Spreading Sunshine to serve a meal to families at LeBonheur Children’s Hospital,” Tony said. “It meant so much to see the gratitude the families had and to know something that seemed so small could be so meaningful. We decided to become monthly donors.”

Impacting Even More Children through a Team

Then, Tony passed on his own enthusiasm for the work of Spreading Sunshine to his team at FutureBenefits. When they saw the need, they wanted to join in to help families, too. 

 “I also wanted a way for my team at FutureBenefits to serve together. We put together Sunshine Snack Bags for families in the hospital. Our company sponsors a couple of families for a Year of Sunshine.”

The Year of Sunshine has provided a lifeline of support to participating families through both gifts and intentional relationships. Because of the support of both corporate partners and individuals, like Tony and Kellee, Spreading Sunshine is able to have an ongoing impact on families facing childhood illness. 

Despite the health crisis, the Year of Sunshine is a program that is still robustly helping families and letting them know that they are not alone. I am encouraged that God has given us many partners who help us serve and impact families in a deeper way.