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Louisville's 'Smile Guy' hoping to spread a little extra cheer through Christmas fundraiser

Michael Ray is using his nonprofit to raise money for families in the restaurant industry who have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — It's been harder than usual to find reasons to smile this year, but a man who has made spreading smiles his life mission is at it again for the holiday season.

Louisville's resident "Smile Guy" Michael Ray works through his nonprofit organization Smile Project Louisville to help bring smiles to people who need them most. The coronavirus pandemic has made his job a little more difficult, but he said he found an opportunity to step in as the restaurant industry took a major hit.

"Even though COVID exists and ... your job's been impacted, do know there are people here that love you and want to make you smile and see you through this in some small way," Ray said.

Smile Project Louisville is hosting an event called "Saving Santa" on Dec. 5. The goal of the event is to raise enough money to give a few hundred dollars to every family in the restaurant industry that has been affected by the pandemic.

"Sometimes I get emotional because Christmas is about love and coming together and this is a special time for everybody... I've always led with love, it's about coming back to that place. We want to make sure that those who feel impacted...feel love," Ray said.

Donations are being accepted now through Venmo. The page is @MRay-SMILEPROJECTLOUISVILLE.

For more information on the event and how you can help, visit the Smile Project Louisville Facebook page.

Learn more about Michael Ray's mission from our story from 2019:

Contact reporter Daniel Sechtin at dsechtin@whas11.com. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook

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