For my sister Emma, it all started with a Volunteer Day at her workplace (every staff member is given a paid day of leave to volunteer at a charity of their choice). One of her team members suggested Zephyr Education, a charity that provides school supplies to children escaping domestic violence. While packing stationery and uniforms into school bags to be sent to various DV shelters, Emma had a light bulb moment that pocket hearts could provide emotional support to the children receiving the packs. She mentioned it to Isabella, who ounded and runs Zephyr with her husband David, and she loved the idea immediately. In consultation with Isabella and I, Emma set the wheels in motion.
Emma set up “Hearts 4 Zephyr”, a 1000 Hearts sewing group which started in 2017. The group began by supplying Zephyr with 90 hearts per month, and after about a year that increased to 120 and is now 130. The group has made about 2500 hearts in total and is going strong!
Emma says: “The group fluctuates a lot, from die-hard heartists who make 100 hearts a month without fail, to those who do the standard 12 per month, to those who do 12 per 6 months! There are 27 members in our private Facebook group, but probably only 15 of those are actively making hearts at the moment. We are easily getting our 130 per month at the moment, which is great, as this is the first time I haven’t been furiously sewing extras myself!"
The group catches up every month at someone’s house and everyone brings a plate. Emma makes up the bags of heart supplies and heartists deliver the completed hearts, which are packaged with a 1000 Hearts mini-flyer and delivered to Zephyr by her husband Tom.
Hearts 4 Zephyr is an inspiring example of how our hearts can bring people together to offer love where it is most needed. Isabella sent a little story: “The 3 boys who recently came into our service all love the little hearts that were included in the book packs you sent. They all carry them in their pockets at school each day & one of them cried when his went into the washing machine & he thought it was lost. Thanks for all you do for our kids. it really does make a difference.”
I often think about those children who have come through such fear and trauma. I wonder how they feel when they open up their school bag to find those practical items offered with kindness to help them start a new chapter. And I wonder what they think when they find a small, lovingly made pocket heart tucked amongst their school supplies. I hope it reminds them of the goodness in the world and helps them to face their future with courage.