‘Valentine’s Card-Making’ Family Party – Make someone else’s day sweeter!

Valentine’s Day IS for lovers but Miss Party doesn’t believe it has to be just for couples. Host a ‘Valentine’s Card-Making’ family event to make valentines for one of your local non-profit or for-profit organizations that work with ‘at-risk’ residents in your community that could use some cheer in their lives. Every community has folks of all ages that would love your small acts of kindness to brighten their lives and let them know they aren’t forgotten.

On your end, card-making is a perfect ‘all-ages’ activity for a couple of hours. All your guests can and will get in the heartwarming spirit of the day with a table full of Valentine’s-themed supplies and a pile of pink and white card stock. It’s a low-key activity that allows adults to socialize AND have the kids fully occupied with the ‘work’ at hand. Miss Party promises you that every single guest will walk away feeling warm and fuzzy inside knowing they did a kind thing for someone else and you never know how much that heartfelt card might mean to the receiver, knowing that someone, somewhere cared enough for them to make it. Your adult guests will also probably go home and count their own blessings twice that evening…just for good measure.

Miss Party recommends a couple of things with this particular party that will make the day more fulfilling for everyone. Either designate one or two organizations ahead of time who will receive the cards or, if the children are older, have the group vote on who will receive the cards from a list of local organizations. Miss Party’s opinion is that your guests will feel much more connected to the project if they know who (as in what organization and who that group serves) is receiving the cards (as opposed to, for example ‘homeless people’). If you choose a group that has a specific number of clients, for example “Meals on Wheels” has 18 clients in your town, you should provide enough cards to cover all their clients. Contact the group’s Activity Director ahead of your party date. A guest is going to make a different card for an elderly person, than a soldier in the military, than a 5 year old child.

Additionally, you might want to target the organization that will receive the cards specifically because of who the organization serves: your guests are families, you might want to choose a group that helps families; your guests have children, find a group that is helping children specifically; your family has someone struggling with cancer; find a group that is working with cancer survivors and their families, such as Relay for Life.

Since your party has a ‘community service’ theme of sorts, Miss Party also suggests that you request each family to bring along a bag or two of non-perishable and canned goods to be donated to your local food pantry. It’s one more small kindness that helps both the giver and the receiver in a tangible way. Food –having it, not having it, and the sharing of it– is at such an instinctual level that people naturally connect to it and share it happily. Additionally, this particular donation will stay within your local community which is also a good thing.

Start off the party with a warming lunch for a cold afternoon. A big pot of vegetable soup is easy to make in the morning and just the ticket for all ages and most dietary issues. All you need to add is a crusty loaf of bread like Ciabatta or Italian cut into thick slices or made into garlic toast, it’s always a crowd pleaser. Miss Party has an awesome, ‘teen-approved’, “Harvest Vegetable Soup for a Crowd” recipe or use one of your own.

Suggestions for Valentine card-making supplies:

Have a large sign listing what organization(s) your cards will be going to, what they provide and who the organization serves (i.e. provides meals to low-income elderly). You could also provide a copy of the group’s brochure or info page for the benefit of adults who would like to know more.

8 1/2 x 11 pink and white card stock, pre-folded in half
several bins of markers, colored pencils, crayons
heart-shaped lace doilies in white, red, pink, gold and/or silver (in several sizes)
mini, round, white doilies
valentine-themed stickers and scrapbooking paper, other related stickers
pre-cut, red, heart shapes in various sizes
lots of pairs of scissors (child-safe and adult)
lots of glue sticks, and double-sided tape
red, white or pink curly or satin ribbon for embellishing

Make several pages of examples of appropriate sayings or for purposes of spelling for younger children. For example, “Happy Valentine’s Day”, “Thinking of you!”, “You’re sweet!”, or “Thank you for your service!” if for a military-related organization.

** Note: Everyone should be instructed NOT to sign their full name (be especially clear with children), first names only or no name signed on the cards. Also, no messages should start with the word “sorry”, as in “sorry you’re sad” or “sorry you don’t have food”. All messages should be phrased in a happy, positive way.

Suggestions for profit or non-profits that may serve in your area serving ‘at-risk’ groups:

Veterans Hospital or other non-profit assisting active-duty families or veterans of the military
Program that sends ‘care packages’ to overseas soldiers
Elder care facilities
Meals on Wheels for home-bound residents
Food pantry/cupboard for low income residents
Senior center for elderly
Soup kitchen or other ‘free, hot meal’ program for homeless and low income clients
Program that works with ‘at risk’ children or teens in community

If you’re having trouble finding out who works in your area, contact your Town Hall officials, call your local churches or recreation center. They will all be able to make suggestions. Unfortunately, you’ll find you have a lot of options and the tougher decision is which one to choose.

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