Valentine’s Day is a day when we think of others. It also can be a day to spread love to people who are facing their own set of challenges.
Throughout the country, pediatric hospitals, nursing homes, shelters and even employers of frontline workers are currently accepting Valentine’s Day cards and other holiday goodies.
Here are a few organizations and gift ideas that you might want to consider extending kindness to.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Valentine’s Day celebrants can send virtual cards to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for free on the pediatric hospital’s website. Virtual card creators get to pick from an assortment of colorful designs that feature artwork inspired by real patients of St. Jude.
St. Jude recommends writing "encouraging notes" to its patients. Cards can also be sent all year round and not just on Valentine’s Day.
Other ways people can support the hospital over the holiday include sending in monetary donations, hosting fundraising events and spreading awareness on social media, according to St. Jude’s website.
St. Jude is partnered with AmazonSmile, an online shop that processes cash donations and giftable items to charities at no cost.
HIS Radio’s Hearts for Kids Initiative
Non-commercial radio station WLFJ-FM (HIS Radio) is accepting handmade Valentine’s Day cards that’ll be distributed to children’s hospitals throughout North Carolina.
The station will be delivering "cheer packets" made up of "cards and fun goodies" to children’s wards at the following seven hospitals: North Carolina Children’s Hospital, Chapel Hill; Wake Med, Raleigh; Duke Children's, Durham; Vidant/Maynard Children’s Hospital, Greenville; Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, Fayetteville; Betsy Johnson Hospital, Dunn; and Nash General, Rocky Mount.
HIS Radio will screen cheer packets. Cards and goodies must be received no later than Wednesday, Feb. 8, according to the radio station's website.
Valentine’s Day cards can be mailed or dropped off in person at the address below.
HIS Radio--Hearts For Kids
7610 Falls of Neuse Rd, Suite 155
Raleigh, N.C. 27615
The local radio station recommends card submitters refrain from using glitter and googly eyes, making references to illness or religion and providing candy or toys. Instead, HIS Radio suggests making uplifting and gender-neutral holiday cards that feature standard Valentine’s Day greetings. Cards written in Spanish are also encouraged.
Wish of a Lifetime From AARP’s Cupid Crew
Spreading Valentine’s Day cheer to seniors is an easy task with AARP’s Wish of a Lifetime. The organization has a volunteer-driven Cupid Crew campaign that collects Valentine’s Day cards nationally and delivers these heartfelt notes to seniors who are socially isolated.
Pre-made Cupid Crew Valentine’s Day cards can be downloaded from the Wish of a Lifetime website. Once printed, holiday celebrants can personalize and drop off or mail the cards to local senior communities or someone they know personally.
"Since the pandemic’s start, many older Americans have become more isolated, missing out on chances to connect with their communities and passions in life," Wish of a Lifetime's website states. "Through Cupid Crew, you can help them feel more connected and loved."
Love In Action Project
The Love in Action Project has already kicked off its annual Valentine’s Day card drive, which aims to create and deliver 5,000 cards to nursing home residents in North Carolina. The organization matches volunteers with nursing homes, so cards can be sent directly to these facilities.
According to the Love in Action Project, sending Valentine's Day cards to seniors in nursing homes fosters human connection, curbs loneliness and aids physical and mental health.
Volunteers who are interested in participating in this year’s card drive can email the Love in Action Project at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Open Door Mission
Open Door Mission, a Nebraska-based shelter that offers temporary housing and food to people in need, is accepting handmade Valentine’s Day cards and decorations that’ll be distributed around the holiday.
Both crafts should be dropped off at the organization’s administration building at the address below.
Open Door Mission
2828 N 23rd St East
Omaha, Neb. 68110
Valentine’s Day cards can include holiday candies and will be distributed to Open Door Mission residents, according to the nonprofit. Donated Valentine’s Day decorations will be displayed at the Open Door Mission’s Hearts of Hope Banquet.
Send cards or meals to front-line workers
Early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, citizens showed their appreciation and support to front-line workers with thank-you cards and meals.
Those considerate offerings can be brought back on Valentine’s Day for local hospitals, police departments, firehouses and other essential workers.
Whether it’s a simple Valentine’s Day card, a homemade baked good or a store-bought breakfast, lunch or dinner, there are different ways you can spread holiday cheer.
Just make sure to check with the organization you’d like to extend Valentine’s Day appreciation to in case there are specific gifting rules.
If you’d like to send a Valentine to a veteran or an active-duty service member, read more here.