Montana News

Dec 31, 2012 9:04 AM by David Jay - MTN News

Montana group connecting nationwide for Newtown

BILLINGS - Many folks still think about Newtown, Connecticut after the shootings earlier this month at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and "Paper Hearts Across America" has become one way to send caring messages to Newtown.

The campaign started in Billings, and has spread to other parts of the country and the world. Organizers have set up tables at the YMCA and other places in Billings for people to write messages on hearts.

"It's a simple way to be kind," said Gala Thompson, who founded Paper Hearts Across America. "To write in and have a message, just a simple gesture and kindness, I think is amazing. And to be able to connect it all together, just a beautiful thing."

The Paper Hearts chain started with about 150, and now thousands have come in from around the country. "The counts up to 10,000, could be closer to 12,000 hearts," Thompson said.

Paper Hearts has been covered by news outlets in New York, Baltimore, Minnesota, and nationally, and a woman in Florida has joined the effort.

"What grabbed me was the compassion, the caring of people," said Sharon Dixon of St. Augustine, Florida.

The Froemke Family in Lindstrom, Minnesota put up a table at the Rosedale Mall in Roseville, north of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

"Connecting one community to another during a time they need help in healing is really important," said Julia Froemke. "It's helping everybody that wants to connect in that way."

"We need more of this type of caring and compassion that's being sent," said Dixon.

"A little heart would maybe brighten someone's day," Thompson said. "Maybe a whole community's day, maybe a whole state's day, maybe a whole world's day, who knows?"

For now it's a simple message to the people in Newtown..

Many of the hearts have been sent to Broadwater School, so the Thompsons and friends can tape them together into a chain and send them to Newtown.

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