NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A woman from Billings, Mt. so moved by the Sandy Hook school massacre has launched a grassroots campaign to send condolences and messages of love to the people of Newtown, Conn.
Gala Thompson founded Paper Hearts Across America just days after the Dec. 14 shooting rampage that left 20 first graders and six female educators dead.
She said the goal is to collect 19 million paper hearts, which Thompson said would roughly make up the distance from Billings to Newtown.
So far, the group has collected more than 10,000 handmade paper hearts from all over the world.
“We thought maybe 500 paper hearts to start with and before we knew it, oh my goodness, we’re getting them from Shanghai, China, from Australia, from Maryland, from Washington state, Arizona, just all over the world,” Paper Hearts Across America founder Gala Thompson told WCBS 880.
Thompson said the outpouring of support has been overwhelming.
“I am shocked, people from everywhere want to send Newtown a message and a message of hope and a message of love and a message of prayer, and that we’re aware of what happened and we’re listening and we want to have some awareness and prevention and we’re not going to just let it go,” she told WCBS 880.
“Each one has a message. Some just have hearts put on them or ‘love’ written on them. They’re in all different colors, different sizes,” Thompson told WCBS 880.
The hearts are being hung in the hallways of Broadwater Elementary School in Billings until they are sent to Newtown. Thompson’s daughters are students at the school.
Thompson said schools and businesses have sent in boxes of handmade paper hearts. And in Billings, a booth was set up at the local mall for people to stop by and make hearts.
If you’d like to send a paper heart, you can main it to the organization at 415 Broadwater, Billings, Mt. 59101. More information can also be found on Paper Hearts Across America’s Facebook page by clicking here.
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