Justin Long Says Kate Bosworth 'Picked Up the Torch' on Their Service Trip After He Contracted Food Poisoning (Exclusive)

The couple recently returned from a trip to Mexico City with Smile Train, a charity benefitting children with cleft lips and palates

<p>Jon Kopaloff/Getty</p> From Left: Justin Long and Kate Bosworth

Jon Kopaloff/Getty

From Left: Justin Long and Kate Bosworth

Justin Long is praising his wife, Kate Bosworth, for picking up the slack on a recent service trip to Mexico City with Smile Train, a charity benefiting children with cleft lips and palates, after the Accepted star contracted food poisoning while they were traveling.

“Fortunately, it was the day we were meant to tour this incredible hospital,” Long jokes with PEOPLE. “I actually got to witness firsthand how great these doctors were and the level of excellence at this hospital. I was the direct recipient of all of this great, important funding from Smile Train.”

During the nearly four-day service trip, Long and Bosworth, who got married in 2023, visited families with children who have cleft lips and/or palates, toured a Smile Train-funded hospital and care center and learned about the condition, which impacts 1 in 700 babies annually worldwide, according to the foundation’s website.

<p>Smile Train</p> From Left: Justin Long and Kate Bosworth on their service trip

Smile Train

From Left: Justin Long and Kate Bosworth on their service trip

Related: Justin Long Jokes 'Classy' Wife Kate Bosworth 'Married Down' with Him Because of This Instagram Habit

“Thankfully, it was just one day,” Long adds of his food poisoning. “And Kate, thank God, she was so great. She just picked up the torch, and she ended up doing the rest of that day like such a champ.

While Long recovered, Bosworth says she had a chance to tour the facilities at the hospital in Mexico City that Smile Train funds. She recalled being in awe of the level of care she witnessed being provided to patients, including surgery, speech therapy and nutrition services.

“When we first started working with Smile Train, the initial impact that you connect with is, ‘Oh, they provide these incredible surgeries for people,” Bosworth tells PEOPLE. “What I continue to be so extraordinarily impressed with about this organization, but perhaps the thing that impressed me most was that they provide not only the surgery but all of this therapy that is needed throughout their lifetime.”

The couple’s trip comes in advance of Smile Train’s 25th gala, during which the two will serve as honorary co-chairs. The event will take place at Cipriani 42nd Street on May 8 in New York City.

<p>Smile Train</p> From Left: Kate Bosworth and Justin Long on their service trip

Smile Train

From Left: Kate Bosworth and Justin Long on their service trip

While speaking with PEOPLE, Bosworth shared that while the pair’s involvement with Smile Train ultimately came about through the charity’s ambassador program, she actually crossed paths indirectly with one of the organization’s senior vice presidents on a plane years before without even knowing it.

The vice president reached out to Bosworth via Instagram. But due to a setting Bosworth had checked on the app to only receive messages from people she followed, she didn’t see the message until recently, almost eight years later — when she began following him back on social media platform.

“It's funny how the universe works in mysterious ways,” Bosworth says now. "He had seen me on a flight in 2016 and DM’d me, ‘Hey, if you're interested, I'd love to introduce you to this organization that I work with. It's called Smile Train. I just would love to chat.’ Cut to eight years later, I see this message.”

For Long and Bosworth, getting involved in Smile Train ultimately came down to a desire to align themselves with an organization that reflected their values.

Related: Kate Bosworth and Justin Long Wrap Their Arms Around Each Other on Walk with Their Dog in Los Angeles

<p>Smile Train</p> From Left: Justin Long and Kate Bosworth on their service trip

Smile Train

From Left: Justin Long and Kate Bosworth on their service trip

“I mean, every day that we were, especially in Mexico City, we would remark to each other, honestly, how lucky we feel. I would just look at Justin at dinner, I'd lean in and say, ‘I can't believe how lucky we are to be able to know everyone in this organization and to have had the experience we have with the families,' " Bosworth says.

Chiming in, Long adds,It's a kind of fulfillment that is very rare, and it's really powerful. I also realize we are very privileged people and we've gotten to do this thing that we get to do, act and do this thing that we love, and we're afforded a really comfortable life."

Now, after their service trip, the two are looking forward to participating in more similar trips with the charity as a couple.

<p>Smile Train</p> Justin Long

Smile Train

Justin Long

They're also looking forward to the 25th Anniversary Smile Train Gala, which will be hosted by TV personality Jeannie Mai. The two will co-chair the event alongside other members of the honorary committee, including Christie Brinkley and Chanel Iman.

"I love a good gala," Long jokes about the upcoming event. "I don't know if you know this about me, but I'm a real fashionista. I'm a real trendsetter, so I love dressing up. I love wearing fancy clothes."

On a slightly more serious note, Long adds, "To get to just be a spokesperson or to get to promote, participate in this kind of work, I know Kate said it, but we kept looking at each other and remarking on how grateful we feel just to be in this position. So we're grateful to Smile Train."

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