You heard me right: Erika Anderson passes out copious amounts of Valentines to strangers every Valentine’s Day.
It all began in 2013 when she decided to make all of New York City her valentine by handing out hundreds of homemade Hello Kitty Valentines to subway riders on her commute. By the next year the project had earned a hashtag (the surefire sign of a movement, no?) and allowed Erika and her #armyoflovers to pass out over 2,000 love notes in NYC and around the world.
“I have seen grown men jump for joy and say ‘You made my day, you made my day.’ I think we get these sort of societal ideas about gender: Men are tough and they don’t need anything, or women are desperate,” Erika told Mic. “But we all need love. We all need some recognition.”
She jokingly refers to her Army of Lovers project as an “assault on meh”—meaning that since many people feel indifferent about ‘ol February 14, this allows a moment to pause, feel special and exchange a smile with a stranger.
Sounds simple and that’s because it is. But it’s one of those simple things that feels really powerful, especially on a sometimes-lonely day.
You can join the ‘army’ by visiting her site and getting in on the action with people in your area or on your own. Her goal is to pass out 5,000 of these bad boys this year and that’s absolutely something worth celebrating.
Now pass those chocolates.