Several years ago, Jim McCann, Founder and Executive Chairman of 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc., received a call that would change the lives of the McCann family and greatly improve the prospects for adults with developmental disabilities, their families and their communities.
Jim’s brother Kevin lived at the Independent Group Living Home (IGHL) in Moriches, NY, a residence for people with developmental disabilities. IGHL Founder and CEO Walter Stockton knew Kevin and other adult residents would flourish if they had the chance to work at meaningful jobs. But employment opportunities for developmentally delayed adults were scarce. On the call, Walter wondered if Jim could help.
He could, and, with his brother Chris McCann and in partnership with IGHL, he opened the first Smile Farms campus in 2015.
Since that day, Smile Farms has become a nonprofit leader in creating solutions for the problem of unemployment among young adults and adults with developmental disabilities. The organization provides meaningful jobs in agricultural settings for these women and men, almost none of whom have worked before. For the first time ever, they are able to experience the satisfaction of mastering new skills, the pleasure of contributing to their team and community, and the thrill of taking home a paycheck.