Based in Old Square Shopping Centre, 4 Steps to A Smile holds a humble space in the community of Walsall.
Founded by Linda Sandar-Haynes, this charity has one main task: “to relieve poverty.”
4 Steps To A Smile supports people in need, enabled by the donations it receives from companies and individuals.
In their base, there is a dedicated reading area where people are welcome to sit and read, borrow a book, have a moment of peace.
There is a collection of feminine hygiene products that are free to the public, no questions asked.
There is a rack of warm winter coats that have been donated, for people of all ages, something for anyone to access.
Linda and her team of volunteers make time to welcome everybody who visits, offering free refreshments and a conversation for those who feel isolated.
But this is not the complete magic of what they do.
Linda very kindly showed our Communications Officer the contents of their storage, a supply of gifts, toiletries, clothes and shoes donated by generous well-wishers.
4 Steps to a Smile create “Welcome to the Future” packs for women fleeing domestic abuse, containing toiletries, notebooks and other small gifts. They create a similar pack for children, called “A Bundle of Joy” with toys and small gifts to help children adjust to their transition.
It is indeed beautiful and inspirational in equal amounts, and the passion that seeps through Linda’s eyes when she speaks about the impact of the charity is incredible.
4 Steps to a Smile have three main campaigns throughout the year: Easter, Mother’s Day and Christmas.
They speak to children in refuge and ask them what they would like. They write their requests on gift tags and put it in the shop, where people take them and purchase the gifts, returning them to the shop with the gift tag on.
For Christmas 2018, 4 Steps to a Smile received over 7000 presents, their highest amount yet. This means over 7,000 children across the Midlands received a Christmas present, where without this scheme they would have gone without. This means 4 Steps to a Smile ensured the smiles of some of the most vulnerable children.
There is a similar approach for Easter, the charity requests donations of Easter eggs and then distributes them to children in women’s refuge.
How to get involved
Linda welcomes donations all year round. She also offers support to people all year round. From free sanitary towels, new hats, gloves and scarfs for children, to low cost rental of interview attire. She asks no questions, instead moving forward with love and determination to support people who are facing hard times, in any capacity.
To find out more about the wonderful work being done, you can visit the website here.