Cleft charity partners with candy company

Smile Train is partnering with Mars Retail Group (MRG), a division of Mars, to support cleft surgeries for impoverished children in the U.S., U.K., Ghana, Ivory Coast, China, India, and Brazil.

The initial goal of MRG is to support a surgery for each one of the company's 725 associates. The countries where surgeries will be funded include locations where Mars has a large presence and/or where cocoa is grown, such as Brazil, Ghana, and the Ivory Coast.

MRG will leverage the Mars Volunteer Program (MVP), which allows associates to take one paid day off a year to volunteer with local organizations. In 2010, Mars associates around the world spent more than 30,000 hours improving their local communities, the company noted in a press release.

Founded in 1999, Smile Train is the world's largest cleft charity, with more than 2,200 partner surgeons operating in more than 1,100 partner hospitals. Smile Train provides free cleft lip and palate surgery to children from poor families in more than 80 countries.

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