Cards for Kids: Phi Mu’s Valentine’s Day Drive

Brooke J. Freundschuh, News Editor

Students from the University of North Alabama sent over 600 Valentine’s Day cards to children being treated at Children’s of Alabama Hospital in Birmingham and 100 to Christian Children’s Home in Florence.

Over the week of Valentine’s Day, UNA’s chapter of Phi Mu ran a drive that allowed students to decorate Valentine’s Day cards.

The event was headed by Hannah Stricklin, Phi Mu’s philanthropy chair. Stricklin leads Phi Mu in all of the year’s events that benefit Children’s Miracle Network, most specifically Florence’s local branch at Children’s in Birmingham.

Children’s is special to members of Phi Mu, including Malorie McBride, who volunteered daily at the Cards for the Kids table.

“Children’s holds a special place in my heart since I hope to work there as a pediatrics nurse in the future,” McBride explained.

Stricklin emphasized how much of an impact Children’s has on those who are struggling with health issues. The patients they have treated serve as the living proof of how hard they work.

Many of the Phi Mu sisters set up tables in the Guillot University Center’s atrium from morning to afternoon on the days of Feb. 11-13. The tables were lined with individually cut out construction paper cards and fun stickers that could be used for decoration.

“They lit up,” Stricklin said when describing student’s reactions to finding out where the cards were going. She was overjoyed by their reactions and that they asked “how many can I make?” Many students went as far as to look up ideas on Pinterest and copy complex drawings onto their cards. Some would leave to eat lunch and return with stacks of cards.

“It’s really great to see the other students at UNA get to be involved,” Stricklin said.

Originally, “Cards for the Kids” was just an internal event among the members of Phi Mu.

“We previously had it to where it was just Phi Mus,” Stricklin said. “It was more of a sisterhood event that got to benefit our philanthropy, but I decided that this year I would really like to expand the impact that we could make, so I wanted to open it up to campus.”

They were successful in expanding their reach. In years past, the sorority sent around 300 cards. This year nearly 700 were made.

“That’s hundreds more lives that we can impact,” Stricklin said.

Phi Mu’s objective with this initiative is as simple as the goal of Valentine’s Day itself: To spread love.

“‘Cards for the Kids’ not only brightens each child who receives a Valentine’s Day, but it also makes them feel important and loved,” McBride said.

Their goal is simply to bring smiles to children’s faces.

“Sometimes it’s the little things about your day,” Strickland said. “If a kid gets a laugh from one of the puns on the card or just smiles because they got a Valentine’s Day card, that’s all that I could really hope for.”