The Greater Boston area is home to many exceptional nonprofits, but the ones that serve moms are especially close to our hearts. Boston Moms is excited to spotlight and support the local nonprofit organizations that make our area so great.

This month we are showcasing Happy Hope Factory!

You can donate to Happy Hope Factory HERE!

We had a chance to catch up with founder and CEO Emi Burke to learn more about her organization. We are so impressed with the amazing work she is doing for the Greater Boston community!

Where are you located? We’re located in Pocasset, MA. 

What prompted the founding of Happy Hope Factory? The foundation was formed in 2011, aiming to bring hope and happiness to hospitalized children everywhere. As a mother of a child who has significant disabilities, I have spent countless hours in hospitals observing other children and families. Watching children laying in beds, scared or anxious, with little to occupy them broke my heart. I knew I had to do something and I set to work rallying others to join me in delivering a boost of hope! 

Tell us about your mission. Our mission is to improve the quality of life of children hospitalized nationwide through the distribution of engaging and inspiring care packages called Happy Hope Bags. Our signature Happy Hope Bags are filled with colorful, fun, and creative activities that provide happiness and joy to children impacted by a health or safety emergency.  

That’s an incredible mission that reaches a lot of people. What is the most acute need right now? We were really impacted on multiple fronts by the pandemic. First, it upended the lives of so many children and families. Children who were hospitalized — with or without COVID — were impacted by restrictions limiting interactions and activities. With “regular” programs and resources being disrupted, Happy Hope Bags became more vital than ever.

We also know that many families struggled and continue to struggle financially. During this time, we have expanded our partners and Happy Hope Bag offerings (dental kits, back-to-school backpacks) to reach children who are receiving services at shelters, food pantries, and after-school programs.

We love that your organization focuses on the fact that “every person can make a difference, and that includes children!” What would it look like for a family or group to do this project together? Our dental kits are a great family project, as they are easy to assemble and include a creative coloring activity that can be done by children and adults of all ages. In the past, we’ve gotten support from a variety of groups. If you’re looking to “spread it around and make an even bigger impact,” you could try working with schools, churches, friend groups, daycares, Scouts programs, nursing homes, sports teams, and extended families.

What do the boxes look like, and how do I purchase them? Currently, we offer Happy Hope Toothbrush boxes that serve 50 or 100 children in shelters. Organizations, community groups, or families make a donation of $150 (for a box of 50 toothbrush kits) or $250 (for a box of 100 toothbrush kits), which is tax deductible. The donor can designate their recipient partner and, on occasion and with appropriate notification, hand deliver their gift to their partner of choice.

Let’s say you have two children, and each of their school classrooms have 25 children in them. You could buy a pack of 50 and arrange to do the project with the classroom teachers. Each child does one project. 

In another scenario, you have two children and you buy a pack of 100. You can send your kids to school with enough for their respective classes to do one or two kits. You could use the “leftover” kits to bring to work for a team activity or bring them to one child’s Boy Scouts group, your church, or a family gathering. 

How does delivery work? What happens if I don’t know of any organizations in my area? The Happy Hope Foundation coordinates both delivery of supplies to volunteers and delivery of kits to the selected recipient organization. Some teams and groups who participate in packing dental kits have an organization in mind that they would like to donate to; if not, we are happy to make the connection with one of our partners. All supplies are shipped directly to the family or group; once the kits are packaged, they can be packed back into the box and shipped using the pre-paid shipping label we include.

Can you tell us about the hospital hope bags? We have designed a full range of Happy Hope Bags, from small outpatient bags to larger overnight kits, as well as themed and specialty bags, like our STEAM and mindfulness kits. We work with Boston Children’s Hospital to review everything we include in our bags to ensure they meet safety standards and will be acceptable to hospitals across the country. Each Happy Hope Bag contains a mix of fun activities and basic care items that have been specifically selected to address the health and well-being of the child recipient.

Where do donations to Happy Hope Bags go? Some families aren’t able to purchase and assemble the dental kits, so we have lots of options for families to help, including an online store. All proceeds go toward the Happy Hope Foundation.

We are grateful for monetary donations to support Happy Hope Bags. All funds received help us purchase supplies and ship donations to hospitals and nonprofits across the country. Due to hospital donation policies, we are unable to accept donated supplies; all contents of Happy Hope Bags must be new and unused. 

If you could tell the community one thing about Happy Hope Bags, what would it be? The pure joy a child experiences when receiving an unexpected gift is unmatched. Families will dedicate all of their resources to provide the best care they can for their children, leaving not much left for the small luxuries of childhood. Caregivers report to us how much they appreciate that a Happy Hope Bag provided an opportunity to watch their child just be a kid again. In a time of crisis or emergency, that is an incredible gift. 

Where can we find you on social media? You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and our website

Where can we donate? You can DONATE HERE!

You can find more about Boston Area nonprofits HERE

Are you interested in being highlighted in a Boston-Area nonprofit spotlight, or do you know an organization that deserves this recognition? Let us know! Please email Chelsey Weaver at [email protected] to discuss a feature.

Chelsey Weaver
Chelsey is a "central Mass" girl who married her 7th-grade sweetheart. She attended both undergraduate and graduate school in Boston, then taught high school on the North Shore for seven years. After living in Winchester and Melrose for several years (and moving too many times), she and her husband finally settled in Groveland in 2015. She loves the North Shore and everything it has to offer, and she enjoys raising her daughter there. Chelsey is the community engagement coordinator for Boston Moms and is mostly a stay-at-home mom. She spends lots of time advocating for children with disabilities, arguing with insurance companies, and looking for disabled influencers, inclusive companies, and materials that celebrate neurodiversity. She avidly listens to audiobooks, hates everything about coffee, and, most importantly, loves being a mom.