If you’re already fearing that you’ll end up at home this Friday night with nary a Valentine’s Day card or candy in sight, keep an eye out for the “Army of Lovers.”
The Army is actually a movement, led by one Brooklyn-based writer, to spread the spirit of Valentine’s Day to everyone this year, one handmade or store-bought Hello Kitty valentine at a time.
“I don’t really remember a moment of inspiration. I just thought that Valentine’s Day can be taken the wrong way,” said Erika Anderson, 33, who last year bought hundreds of pre-packaged Valentine’s Day cards, addressed each of them, “From Me, To You” and handed them to friends and complete strangers alike along her workday commute.
“The first person I gave one too, on my street, shouted for joy and said, ‘You made my day.’ That was a nice start,” Anderson said. “Other people had more of a muted response and just took them.”
“It felt really weird to do it on the train, to be honest,” she said of her subway commute on New York’s A and F trains. “There was one person who didn’t want it but most people just did a quiet thank you.”
This year Anderson, who is single, decided to invite friends over to make homemade valentine’s to hand out on Friday. A party that started via an email invitation to just a few friends grew to a party of over 60 people when Anderson, “couldn’t stop inviting people.”
The party invite was forwarded to a writer at Buzzfeed who upped the ante for Anderson by writing that she would distribute 1,000 valentines this year.
“I don’t know if I have time to make 1,000 valentines this week,” Anderson said today. “I think 500 is more realistic. I’ve already made maybe 200.”
The attention Anderson gained through the Buzzfeed article did, however, allow her to expand her “Army of Lovers” to people around the globe who have tweeted to her that they plan to follow her example.
“I don’t think I’ve ever loved Twitter more than this week,” Anderson said. “People from all over are tweeting and saying they want to represent in Portland and New Zealand and Los Angeles and Ottawa.”
Anderson, who has always, even in elementary school, she says, celebrated Valentine’s Day in a big way, is most touched that people around the world are getting the message.
“I think it’s something you can easily swat away as frivolous, but to be honest it means a lot to me,” Anderson said. “I’m so overwhelmed with all the people who want to do the same thing or who have already been doing it themselves.”
“I’m always wowed by how much we have to give and how little it takes to brighten someone’s day for the moment,” said Anderson, who has now created a Tumblr page to enlist people in the “Army of Lovers.”