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Service Spotlight: Donate Essentials

As I’ve said time and time again, one of my favorite things about The Smile Project is our growing kindness community. This week, I am thrilled to introduce another #ServiceSpotlight featuring a college student from Cupertino, California. Raaga Karumanchi is the founder and executive director of Donate Essentials. I’m thrilled to allow Raaga to share her story now.

Liz: Let’s start in traditional Smile Project fashion. Give me a "Happiness is..”

Raaga: Happiness is life—from anything that brings me joy and fulfillment by doing what I love with the people around me to having everyone take charge of their health.

Liz: What is Donate Essentials?

Raaga: Donate Essentials is a 501(c)(3), youth-led, international nonprofit organization that focuses on donating essential goods and improving health literacy in all demographics, as we believe that healthcare is a fundamental right for all.

Liz: What is the driving force behind what you do?

Raaga: As personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies dwindled worldwide in 2020, I started Donate Essentials as a grassroots movement in my local community to make and donate masks. After PPE supplies were no longer scarce, we began to redirect our efforts towards another pressing issue: health literacy. 

I discovered that 9 out of 10 adults in the United States struggle with health literacy. Looking globally, about half of the world's population don’t have access to essential healthcare services. We realize the importance of spreading our knowledge as a collective effort to learn about the importance of health literacy as a collective effort. I strongly believe everyone should access healthcare as a basic human right regardless of where they are from while making informed decisions about their access.

Liz: What does service mean to you?

Raaga: To me service is about lending a helping hand to providing accessibility for everyone. Whether it’s seeing the frontline workers' eyes radiate when donating PPE or the impact we have on our blog readers to take charge of their own health literacy.

Liz:  How can people get involved? 

Raaga: By going to our Volunteer Form you can sign up to volunteer with us! You can also check out our socials: @donateessentials on Instagram and Tik Tok. If you would like to learn more, you can visit our website:

Liz: Do you have a favorite quote to leave us with?

"I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver." 

– Maya Angelou


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