Volunteers write letters to strangers in labor of love
By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News
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On Wednesday, a group of about 60 people gathered at the Port Angeles Library and wrote a stack of letters that fills a 2-foot cubic storage bin, said Kristin Halberg, 46, one of three Port Angeles life coaches who is spearheading an effort to spread positive feelings through the community.
They are anonymous, positive messages — all handwritten, some decorated.
They will be left later this month for strangers to find on store shelves, in bus shelters, mailboxes or even handed personally to an unsuspecting pedestrian.
Halberg, with fellow life coaches Mindy Aisling and Marie McCartney, are spearheading the project, based on the “We Need More Love Letters” program founded in New York City by a woman suffering from depression.
Hannah Brencher sought to lift her spirits by writing love letters to the community, then leaving them in public places for strangers to find.
The community love letters have become a nationwide effort, including a website, www.MoreLoveLetters.com, that invites others to join in.
In Port Angeles, a wide variety of people showed up to write letters, ranging from toddlers to the elderly, Halberg said.
They were mostly women, but a few men were there to do their part, she said.
Feb. 23 distribution
The Port Angeles letters will be distributed beginning 3 p.m. Feb. 23, with participants meeting at the Red Lion Hotel, 221 N. Lincoln St., before spreading out to the surrounding area.
Anyone who wants to help spread the love — handing some letters directly to people and hiding others in places where they might be found by residents or visitors — is welcome to join the fun, Halberg said.
Halberg said a few of the letters will be sent to New York to be given to individuals for whom there were specific requests, but most will stay in Port Angeles.
Volunteers also are invited to write additional letters at home and bring them to the distribution event.
Halberg said additional letter-writing dates may be added to dovetail with cruise ship visits to Port Angeles this summer.
She added that with little oversight of the content of the letters themselves, there has been some concern that some people may take advantage of the event to write hurtful or otherwise negative things.
“We just have to believe in the goodness of other people. We hope that people only write positive things and not spoil it for everyone else,” she said.
So far, the response has been overwhelmingly positive, Halberg reported.
In the past week, the three women have been contracted by friends and strangers wanting to bring the letter-writing campaign to their own communities.
Other groups interested in the project have included a church group in northern California and a Los Angeles-area school, she said.
Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at email@example.com.
Last modified: February 07. 2013 6:04PM