A few years ago, I found out one of former students had brain cancer. It spread quickly and she was gone before most people even knew she was sick. For my team of teachers, it was a shock. We remembered her from the year before as a happy, healthy child. We put a collection together for the family for the funeral and sent flowers because that’s what we were told she wanted. Flowers for her funeral.
Kids are often the most excited by the small things in life. Sure, the news was just talking about a $70 toy that’s all the rage, but in a world full of email and social media, receiving a handwritten letter is a big deal. (I, too, am secretly thrilled when I have mail that isn’t junk or bills in my mailbox.)
Taking time this year to offer the cheap thrill of handwritten mail to a sick child is just what the doctor is ordering.
Before we tell you where to send these cards, here are a couple of thoughts:
- Do ask if sending a small token with the card is acceptable. Contact the hospital or organization to see if it’s a possibility. It doesn’t have to be big but stickers, coloring book pages, etc. are simple items that fit into an envelope.
- Don’t write “get well soon” or “hope you feel better soon.” For some recipients, this isn’t an option. It’s better to say something positive about the holiday season rather than hoping for a recovery. Instead, “Hope you have a good day” and “Thinking of you” are better alternatives.
- Do send happy cards and messages. These cards are meant to make a person feel joyful.
- Don’t send anything religious. We are a world of multiple religions and this experience is meant to honor everyone.
- Do check the child’s status. If you look to send to a specific child/address on Monday but don’t send the card until the following week, check the website to make sure their status hasn’t changed.
- Do make this personal. Tell a little bit about yourself or your holidays so the child feels a connection.
- Don’t expect a reply. The purpose is to wish them a happy holidays. That’s it.
- Don’t write a card only at the holidays. Many of these organizations ask for cards throughout the year for their patients, not just during the holidays.
Now the question you’ve been waiting for us to answer. Where to send cards?
We’re open for suggestions, but we’ve uncovered the following websites (with addresses) although we suggest you go to the website to check if there are any restrictions/suggestions.
- Cards for Hospitalized Kids is based out of Chicago. They ask for cards about two weeks in advance (so send these today/this weekend!).
- Send Kids the World want postcards. The link sends you to the guidelines page where it gives a lot information. From there, go to the Current Kids list; the page shows the child’s name, age, and diagnosis. Click on “more…,” which will ask for a math problem to be completed before supplying the address for that specific child. *Since these are specific kids, check their status if there’s a delay in sending cards.*
- Children’s Hospital Los Angeles requires cards to be laminated as infectious diseases can do more physical harm to these kids.
- Kaydence Weaver in Indiana is a two-year old cancer patient, who wants 500 Christmas cards this year. *Note: I’m still looking for an update. The last I have found was the end of November where they were still looking for cards and the webpage is still up so I assume they are still collecting cards.*
Do you know of other children or people to give cards to? Let us know.
(Please note: Cards for the military need to be sent in by December 2nd at the latest since they require screening, which means we missed that opportunity this year.)