Guidelines for Donations

Please scroll down for Guidelines, Themes and deadlines, Monetary donations, Packaging and shipping, Student Volunteer Hours

We ask that you read and follow these simple guidelines before making and sharing your cards. 


  • All cards must be handmade  - no computer card-making programs please, such as Hallmark, etc. and no store bought or re-purposed card fronts. 
  • Card bases need to be on 65# or heavier card stock—please no construction, typing or copy papers. 
  • Please DO NOT SMOKE while making, storing or packaging cards for our kids. We have also had some hospitals express concern about kids who have severe allergies to pets, so if possible, please create your cards in pet-free rooms.
  • All cards should be made specifically for children ages 1-19, or for those age children to give to parents, medical staff, etc.
  • Preferred size is A2 (4 1/4 x 5 1/2 inches)
  • Please include envelopes, especially if your cards are not the standard A2 size
  • Check our Current Needs page to determine what themes and types of cards are needed. Please know that we appreciate all cards received but do not have the need for hundreds of cards from any individual card maker. Larger numbers of holiday cards are always in demand, but for the other categories, please make your cards unique and think "Quality over Quantity." Try out a new technique or use something different from your craft stash! 
  • Please do not use loose glitter and shedding glitter papers. Stickles or glimmer mists are great alternatives to shake-on glitter!
  • Please leave cards blank on the inside so the nurses and staff can write messages to the patient and their family. 

  • Please line the inside of the card if using non-white/cream card bases, especially the darker ones.  
  • Keep the cards upbeat (no "sorry you're sick," "get well soon," "stay strong," or 'You've Got This," etc.). These cards are intended to take the focus off of the hospital and just be a cheery holiday or any day greeting. Halloween greetings should be fun, not scary.
  • The hospitals ask that we not include religious symbols, sayings, blessings, or themes on  or inside the cards. Hospital staff is not always aware of what faith a child is. 
  • Remember, using digital images you have not purchased (especially with watermarks on them) is technically theft and we cannot use them for our kids. 
  • Avoid glue sticks and rubber cement on your cards. Cards with these products often stick to adjoining cards or fall apart.
  • So, let your creativity run wild and put some smiles on those little faces! All cards received will be labeled "Send A Smile 4 Kids" on the back.

Themes and Suggested Deadlines 

  • Ongoing themes: Hi/Hello, Thinking of you, You're Awesome, no sentiment/blank, Have a Great Day, Birthday (check "Needs" page) , general happy sayings
  • Halloween and Fall Cards, October 5th
  • Thanksgiving, November 5th
  • Christmas and winter cards, December 5th
  • Valentine's Day, January 15th
  • Easter and spring cards: 3-4 weeks before the day Easter falls on this year
  • Mother's Day (to give to the children to give to their Mom), April 15th
  • Father's Day (for Dad from the hospitalized kids) & summer cards, May 15th

If we receive cards later than when we deliver to the hospitals, we will save them for next year. We accept any type of handmade children's card anytime as long as it follows these guidelines. Please remember everyday cheer cards, and think of our teenage patients when designing cards as well, as that is the type of cards we receive the least of. 
About Monetary Donations
Thank you for your support of SAS4Kids! We do have expenses such as envelopes, shipping and blog costs, and if you would consider donating a check (or cash if you prefer) to help with those expenses, it would be greatly appreciated. You may send a monetary donation with or without a donation of cards. 
Please make your check payable to the name of the volunteer with Send a Smile 4 Kids in the Memo Line (not in the "pay to the order of" line or our banks will not let us cash them.) We thank you!

Packing and Sending your Donations

  • Please send your handmade cards and/or monetary donations to the addresses in the Contact Us page. Any boxes sent to addresses not in the Contact page will be returned to the sender.
  • In every box, please include an email address and your name and state, so we can acknowledge your gift of cards and/or monetary donation.
  • It is helpful if you divide or mark cards by theme (i.e. Birthday, holiday, encouragement, etc.) and supply a total count of cards in each box. Cards do not have to be tucked into envelopes.
  • Optional: We do label the back of our cards with SAS4Kids information. While many of our Volunteers have a stamp, you can label them before you send them. Please contact SAS4KidsJen @ if you would like our label template(s) as a PDF. They are designed for address labels (30 per page), 60-per page, or for return address labels (80 per sheet), but if you do not have label stickers, you can print on any paper, cut and attach the back of your cards.

Thank you again! We can't wait to see what you send us for our kids!

Students seeking volunteer hours
We apologize we are unable to verify volunteer hours at this time. Please consider looking at Cards for Hospitalized Children in Chicago, IL.

***We have had to delete the page where we were documenting the receipt of each box of cards because of too many glitches and loss of entries. However, please know we are grateful for every card received for our kids. Each volunteer is keeping a record of every box with sender's name and date received. Please include your email address so that we can express our gratitude and send a confirmation of receipt***