Join us for the 4th Annual Valentine’s Day Cards for Kids & Cookies for Caregivers initiative!
Volunteers (of all ages) make cards for children who have to be in a DC, MD, or VA pediatric hospital over Valentine's Day and cookies for the caregivers who support them. We want the recipients of both to know that members of their community are thinking of them and sending them best wishes. The cards are only for the kids, and include uplifting messages. The cookies are only for the caregivers (due to the children’s specific dietary needs) and are from healthy-ish nut-free recipes. Some participating groups are only making cards, and some are only making cookies.
What is the process? During this community service activity, participating adults and young people discuss topics such as empathy, helping others, volunteering, friendship, respect for diversity, and making a positive impact in life. The card and cookie recipients have reflected they’re touched and moved to know members of their community really care about them, and are sending them positive uplifts during their challenging times. This small act of kindness can have a big impact.
Eliana’s Light receives by mail and picks up from local groups the cards and/or cookies, and delivers them to staff at Children’s National Medical Center, Inova Children's Hospital, HSC's Pediatric Center, John’s Hopkins’ Children’s Center, the Children's Inn at NIH, Medstar Georgetown University Hospital, the Kennedy Krieger Institute, and Walter Reed. We may engage more pediatric medical centers based on the number of volunteers involved. The staff members at the medical centers disseminate the cards to patients and the cookies to their caregivers (i.e., parents and staff members).
How can individuals and groups participate?
* Organize a group of friends and/or colleagues for a Valentine's Day card and/or cookie making party at your house.
o If your group will be making cards, the following is some guidance for your consideration:
* Hospital staff have cleared the following messages for inclusion in the Valentine’s Day cards: "You are loved"; "You are surrounded by love"; "I believe in you"; "You are strong and brave"; "I wish you the very best"; "You rock"; "I am thinking of you and sending you love"; "You inspire me"; "You are awesome"; "I hope you have a great day today"; "Be brave"; and "Always remember how awesome you are".
* We welcome any way participating kids would like to sign their cards. For example, they can be signed, "First name, grade, school name", or "X-grader, school name, city name", or "X-grader, city name". We'd love some kind of signature to personalize the cards.
o If your group will be making cookies, we’re especially looking for nut-free and low-sugar recipes that will give a tasty boost to caregivers.
* Ask your child's teacher if their class would be interested in making Valentine’s Day cards to support kids and caregivers who will be at these pediatric medical centers in our region. Teachers often discuss topics such as empathy, volunteering, and kindness with their participating students.
* Donate any supplies you may have for making cards. We welcome red, white, and pink construction paper; white printer paper; glue sticks; stickers; and kid scissors. No glitter please :)
* Share your favorite nut-free, low-sugar, low-cost, and easy-to-make cookie recipes you think caregivers would enjoy.
* Make a financial donation to help Eliana’s Light cover the cost of providing some card-making supplies to participating non-profit organizations (https://elianaslight.z2systems.com/np/clients/elianaslight/donation.jsp?campaign=1&).
How can individuals and groups register to participate? If you’re interested in participating or supporting this initiative, please email your interest to Whitney Ortiz (firstname.lastname@example.org). We will coordinate directly with you. We welcome volunteer participation from all locations, and can receive cards by mail if you live further than 1 hour from Washington, DC.
When do the cards and cookies need to be done? We will need to collect all items by the end of the day on Fri., Feb. 8th. Earlier is better so Eliana's Light has time to package and distribute the cards before Valentine's Day.
We hope this information is helpful to you, and we’re happy to answer any questions you may have. We look forward to your participation!