6 Organizations That Will Help You Send Homemade Holiday Cards to Kids Who Need Them
This year, consider adding someone new to your holiday card list: a child in need. Many children who have been diagnosed with serious illnesses will remain in hospital care over Hanukkah or Christmas—and there are several organizations trying to make their season a little bit brighter by organizing card donations. By sending a handmade card, you can help send a little love their way. Below, find a few of our favorite places to start.
Cards for Hospitalized Kids
Founded by Jen Rubino—who was first hospitalized at age 11—this internationally-recognized organization collects and sends out homemade cards to children around the country year round. Rubino had been a competitive gymnast when she was diagnosed with a tissue and bone disease in 2006. Realizing how lonely it felt to be a child in a hospital, she was inspired to create CFHK after receiving a handmade card from a hospital volunteer one day. Rubino is now a college student at Georgetown University and continues to oversee CFHK, which has delivered cards to over 100,000 kids in all 50 states to date.
Cardz for Kidz
Cardz For Kidz is rooted in supporting children, families, senior citizens, and veterans at hospitals, schools, and senior living and rehabilitation centers. Founder and president Ike Nwankwo created this global organization in 2010 based on his passion for volunteering and working with patients at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor, Mich. (something he has done since he was 12).
His own hospitalization experience, due to his battle with epilepsy, deepened his understanding of what patients and their families go through regularly. Nwankwo has made it his mission to send encouragement to children patients in hospitals through handmade cards and has expanded the charity's offerings to other individuals in need of support.
Send a Smile Today
The goal behind Send a Smile Today is to uplift cancer patients of all ages, ranging from children to adults, with greeting cards from the time they are diagnosed through when they are in remission. The organization encourages card senders to think of things that would brighten the patients' days, like smiley faces and rainbows. The cards are mailed to people with any kind of cancer once a month.
On a mission to spread the joy of arts and crafts to children in need since 2004, Caitlin's Smiles was inspired by 7-year-old Caitlin Hornung who passed away in 2000 from cancer. To keep her crafty spirit alive, her mom, Cheryl, began sharing art supplies and homemade cards with other children battling illness. Today, the organization has collected and distributed thousands of "Bags of Smiles"—care packages filled with toys, books, art supplies, and craft supplies—to children's hospitals nationwide. You can donate a card to accompany your bag or donate crafting supplies to help fill one.
I See Me! Letters of Love
Partnering with the Children's Cancer Research Fund, these personalized children's book makers launched their first letter collection campaign this year (and it's so simple to participate!). Click here to write your e-letter for a child in need; messages will then be printed and delivered to kids in mid-December. For every 50 letters received, I See Me! will donate a personalized "My Very Own Christmas" or "A Hanukkah Bear for Me" book to a child as a special gift.
Send a Smile 4 Kids
Since 2011, this volunteer-run blog has been collecting and delivering handmade cards to inpatient children at over a dozen hospitals nationwide. Cards can range from holiday-themed and birthday-related to an everyday friendly note. Just be sure to leave the insides blank, as some cards are given to children to write for family members or doctors.