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Caring cupids work to ensure widows aren't forgotten on Valentine's Day

Program works to ensure widows aren’t forgotten on Valentine’s Day
Program works to ensure widows aren’t forgotten on Valentine’s Day 03:32

HUTCHINSON, Minn. — Healing broken hearts is the main aim of the Valentine's Day Widow Outreach Project. With inspiration from a similar program in North Carolina, a Minnesota woman has turned to her community to help bless those facing this day of love without theirs.

"We're off to make our first delivery of today. We're headed to go surprise Carol," Kayleen Jensen said.

Jensen leads this mission of caring cupids in Hutchinson. With the help of volunteers like Tom Ulrich, they seek to surprise widows and widowers with flowers and gifts.

"On a day like Valentine's Day, it can be really hard for someone who's missing a loved one, or maybe they're just kind of sad and lonely today. We're hoping that we can share some love and spread some kindness and joy," said Jensen.

The Valentine's Day Widow Outreach made special deliveries to fifty of the widowed in 2023, its inaugural year. This year, they're making over 130 deliveries.

"I had seen posts about this project on Facebook and I kept thinking gosh what a neat project. I know Kayleen, and that's right up her alley to do something like this for other people. But I never connected that it was me, that I was a widow," Carol Stark, of Hutchinson, said.

Stark's husband Brian died suddenly two years ago, on Valentine's Day.

"Brian was crazy funny, so fun to be with. He loved to work because he played really hard. His hobby was buying old cars and motorcycles," she said.

She says this second year without Brian is a little better thanks to the love she's received.

"I have wonderful family and friends to support me. Not everybody does," said Stark.

That's why organizers say this outreach is so important. This day full of smiles, hugs, and tears, wouldn't be possible without the community of Hutchinson stepping up and pitching in. They raised nearly $5,000 online to cover costs. 

People, businesses, and schools added gifts and other personal touches.

"I'm so grateful that we live in this community and the way people step up and want to help each other. It's just. it's beautiful," said Jensen. "I think I said we're planting seeds to kindness, and we'll see if they grow. They're growing."

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