Not only does the annual extravaganza of bad taste in fashion make attendees smile, but the money the event raises goes to the SMILE network, which provides life-changing facial surgeries.

In just five years, Kim Hammes and Judy Sunderman, the Le Sueur women who organize the ugly sweater party, have raised enough money to provide more than 400 people with surgery for cleft palates and lips.

“They have brought the community together and the whole community has embraced SMILE Network,” said Maureen Cahill, executive director of the network, which provides reconstructive surgeries and other health care in developing countries with volunteer medical teams.

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