Oakland Woman Is Depicted on Lay's Potato Chip Bags

She was chosen to be included in the "Operation Smile" program.


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Image courtesy of Packaging Digest

An Oakland woman is among 31 inspiring people chosen to be depicted and have their stories celebrated on Lay's potato-chip bags as part of the snack company's "Operation Smile" program.

The program launched on July 23 in New York City, where at the first-ever Lay's Smiles Station in Times Square, visitors could meet dancer/actor/singer Derek Hough and receive limited-edition Lay's Smiles bags adorned with selfie-type images of these inspiring people.

The bags are now available nationwide. Each one sold adds to what Texas-based Lay's aims to amass into a $1 million donation to Operation Smile, an organization that provides free and safe surgeries for people born with cleft lip, cleft palate, and other facial differences. The organization also facilitates donations of crucial medical equipment and trains medical professionals to provide specialized care. 

Lay's million-dollar objective was accomplished in last year's Operation Smile program. This year the company revived the initiative, with the added fun feature of bags depicting real people with engaging stories. 

These "Everyday Smilers," as Lay's calls them, include such impactful individuals as a Chicago cooking teacher called Katie L., a "fun-loving anesthesiologist" in Missouri called Dr. Chris E., a Washington man named Shane M. who delivers firewood to people in need, and many others — including Oakland's own Robin J., whom Lay's describes as "an award-winning advocate for minority women in business" whose "work helps women acquire the skills they need to succeed in the workplace."

"Kudos to Lay's for recognizing that it's the simple things in life that hold the most value. Sharing a smile with a friend is often just what you need as your own pick-me-up – and everyone, no matter who you are, can appreciate that unexpected bright spot in your day," said six-time Dancing with the Stars winner Hough in a press release.  

"I'm honored to join Lay's as they spread smiles on a global scale with Operation Smile, and then also at a community level with the Everyday Smilers who remind us that gestures big and small can create joy," Hough said.

Lay's is one of the brands comprising Frito-Lay North America, the $15 billion convenient-foods division of PepsiCo, Inc. 

"We know the world today needs more joy and we take a lot of pride in the joy that comes from simply opening a bag of Lay's – and just like that bag draws you in, so does sharing a smile," said Frito-Lay North America vice president of marketing Sadira Furlow.

"Last year, our fans shared an average of 700 selfies per day with the 'Smiles' bags, revealing a tremendous opportunity for our bags to transform into storytellers, inspiring even more smiles with the great work of Operation Smile and ordinary people doing extraordinary things in their communities," Furlow said.

"Our hope is that with every smile we encourage, another one follows, and so on – with those seemingly little moments of joy and connection adding up to make a big difference."

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