‘Smile Farms’ Gives Disabled Adults A Chance To Grow

Did you know that 80% of developmentally disabled adults in the United States are unemployed?

"We think that's unacceptable," says Claire Stapleton, who is the Senior Director at Smiles Farms. An arm of the successful nationwide business 1-800-Flowers, Smile Farms is a non-profit organization that was created specifically to provide gainful, productive employment to developmentally disabled adults.

At Smile Farms, employees work at local farms, urban gardens, greenhouses and farm stands, helping to grow and sell flowers and produce in the communities where they live.

"Everyone is better when they have a job," says Jim McCann, the founder and CEO of 1-800-Flowers and the Chairman of Smile Farms. "When they have a job that's meaningful, that's fulfilling, it seems to be the nexus of good health, not only for them, but for their communities."

Jim started Smile Farms under the 1-800-Flowers umbrella with his brother Chris, who now works as a farmer at Smile Farms. According to Jim, it was initially Chris' idea, and now Jim feels "lucky enough" to get to work with Chris every day.

The benefits, of course, go far beyond the founding family. Working at a farm creates a beautiful cycle of enrichment, where employees get to cultivate plants and food that their community gets to enjoy, then those employees take home a paycheck that allows them to be happier and healthier in their own lives, and so on. We love the work that Smile Farms is doing!
To learn more about their mission you can visit their website, Facebook or Twitter. Be sure to check out 1-800-Flowers, too!
This video was produced by Lucia Nazzaro and shot/edited by Abe Halpert.

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