Join Beltway Bambinos and members of the DC, Maryland, and Virginia communities in the 5th Annual Valentine’s Day Cards for Kids and Cookies for Caregivers initiative that Eliana’s Light organizes.
Eliana’s Light is a local non-profit organization that supports families with children who have complex medical conditions by focusing on their whole health and well-being. They connect directly with families through customized gift bags, learning events, and online communications; advocate for and raise awareness on whole health, integrative, and integrated approaches to care; and exchange information and resources with caregivers, practitioners, and researchers. They help children and their caregivers feel better while they contribute to a whole health and family-centered approach to pediatrics. A big part of their work involves engaging community members in service projects that support these local families. Collaboratively, community members throughout our region come together to show they care.
WHAT: The Annual Valentine’s Day Cards for Kids & Cookies for Caregivers involves volunteers (of all ages) who make cards for children that will be in the hospital over Valentine’s Day. The initiative also includes making or sending in cookies for the caregivers who support these children. 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 should 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; don’t feel obligated to do both.
WHO: Eliana’s Light will pick up the cards and/or cookies from participating groups, and deliver them to staff at Children’s National Hospital, Inova Children’s Hospital, HSC’s Pediatric Center, the Children’s Inn at NIH, MedStar Washington Hospital Center, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital and the Kennedy Krieger Institute. The staff members then disseminate the cards to patients and the cookies to their caregivers (i.e., parents and staff members).
HOW: Here are a few ways you can participate:
- Organize a group of friends for a Valentine’s Day card and/or cookie making party at your house.
- 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; glue sticks; stickers; and kid scissors. No glitter please.
- Make a financial donation to help Eliana’s Light cover the cost of providing some card-making supplies to participating non-profit organizations
-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.
-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.
WHEN: If you’re interested in participating or supporting this initiative, please email your interest to both myself and Whitney and we will coordinate directly with you. We will need to collect all items by the end of the day on Sunday, Feb. 9th.
Thank you in advance. I am overwhelmed with happiness each year by how many Beltway Bambinos readers participate and share this post. It means the world to me to be helping with such a special project for so many.