Send A Smile for Kids is a charitable organization created for the purpose of collecting donated handmade cards to be distributed to children while they are inpatient at Children’s Hospitals. The cards are all child appropriate including Birthday, Encouragement, All Occasion, Thinking of You, Love, Valentine’s, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Summer, Halloween, Thanksgiving and our all time favorite Christmas/Holiday/Winter.
I am a volunteer for SAS4Kids (Send A Smile 4 Kids) accepting your hand made cards for kids at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children (Philadelphia, PA), Nationwide Children’s Hospital (Columbus, OH) and Children’s Hospital at St. Peter’s University Hospital (New Brunswick, NJ). Go to “A Little About Me” page to see how I got started.
The cards are used in many different ways. Here are a few examples:
- Inpatient child has a birthday — parents, staff, doctors, nurses, can all take a card, write a personal message and give the Birthday Child a card. Parent of a child has a birthday and the kids can go find the best birthday card ever to give to their parent. Maybe the kids have siblings at home that need a birthday card — there you go another reason that SAS4KIDS works.
- Thank you cards — parents or kids to thank staff members, kids who want to thank anyone.
- Encouragement cards — No explanation needed here. Just to uplift and encourage a child (or a parent).
Some hospitals have a Ronald McDonald House for families to stay while their child is receiving treatment and the cards provide them the opportunity to send messages back home or to lift the spirits of one another.
Your kindness and cards are greatly appreciated and serve a wonderful purpose.
Always remember QUALITY over QUANTITY. I would rather receive 5 well made, good quality non sticky cards than 50 cards that do not make the cut.
Guidelines for Donated Cards
Any type of handmade children’s card is accepted at anytime as long as it follows the guidelines listed below.
All cards must be handmade. Computer generated cards are unacceptable (computer card-making programs such as Hallmark, etc.) NO store bought cards (unacceptable).
Please include envelopes, especially if your cards are not the standard A2 size (4 1/4 x 5 1/2).
Visit the Send A Smile 4 Kids website on the home page and look over to the right hand side to see what each shipper’s current needs are.
All cards should be made specifically for children ages 1-19, or for those same aged children to give to parents, medical staff, etc. — the younger kids still like to give a kid card.
Please leave cards completely blank on the inside — kids write big. Also the nurses and staff need room to write messages to the patient or family.
Keep the cards upbeat (no “sorry you’re sick”, “get well soon”, etc.), these cards are intended to take the focus off of the hospital and just be a cheery holiday, or any day greeting. Halloween cards and greetings should be fun not scary. These kids cannot go “trick or treating” so avoid those words or references to Halloween candy.
The hospitals ask that we not include religious symbols or themes in the cards. Many families have many different faiths and beliefs and the hospital staff is not always aware of what faith a child is.
Please use cardstock that holds up to kids wear and tear, the younger ones like to take their cards everywhere with them. Remember how many hands your card will touch.
Colored and textured cardstock – please remember that the majority of your cards are being used by children and some can barely write. So when using cardstock other than white or very light pastels you must adhere a liner on the inside (if in doubt use a liner). This goes for textured card stock as well. Try writing on it – if it has nooks and crannies it is textured and the kids can’t write so well on it.
If you use brads, please do not let any of the sharp fastener show through, if you use them on the front of a card, cover up the inside with a liner of cardstock (not computer paper).
Please DO NOT SMOKE while making or packaging cards for our kids. We cannot give sick children cards that smell of smoke.
Some hospitals express concern about kids who have severe allergies to pets, so if possible, please create your cards in pet-free rooms.
Please use glitter sparingly (if in doubt leave it out). There are glittered papers out now but be careful if it rubs off on your fingers do not use it – Stickles or glimmer mists are a great alternative.
About Digital Images
You must purchase or use free digital images on your cards – you cannot copy an image from the internet on a website and use that on a card. If a watermark is on an image it is unacceptable. Technically it is theft and cannot be used for the kids.
Avoid glue sticks, rubber cement, and inexpensive tape runners on your cards. Parents like to save these cards for their child’s journey and over time they yellow and fall apart.
Avoid using wrapping paper images on cards – they fall off before they even make it to the shipping box.
Card Makers have so many questions. I give you these guidelines to help you make the best cards for these sick children and their families.
Thank you so very much for your card donations. This is a 100% total volunteer organization. Your time, energy and financial input into these cards is appreciated.
Please visit SAS4Kids website for any additional information.