March 17 wasn't any ordinary St. Patty's Day for Hearts of Hope.  It was a combination workshop and party to celebrate the upcoming April National Month of Hope and it included everything from creating scores of hearts to consuming more than a fair share of pizza.  Students from Pennridge High School's Key Club, Ursinus College and St. Joseph University's Hearts of Hope Club all descended upon the Corporate Headquarters in Perkasie, PA. Youth was well represented but so were Board Members, Chapter Presidents, husbands, moms and pets. The activity was non-stop for four straight hours and the results were amazing. Several hundred ceramic hearts were processed for delivery and more were created from scratch.  Every heart counts as the magic number of 100,000 hearts delivered is rapidly approaching.

Founder and Director Judy Pedersen planned and set up enough work (and play) stations to keep every participant busy with every aspect of the Hearts of Hope process which is sending messages of hope to recipients around the nation and world who need a gesture of love and compassion in their hour of need and suffering.

The day proved to be a revealing look behind the scenes of this Movement of Hope and the myriad of details required to reach out to people in need.  From the actual slabs of clay all the way to shipping the finished hearts out the door, no heart was left unturned and the process was quite exhilirating. In reality, it was a lot of work but for the students, volunteeers and everyone who steps forward to help, the process is literally a labor of love.

In the morning, soon after a few dozen donuts were devoured, everyone  split into groups for the various tasks. There were clusters of folks cutting, shaping, glazing, sorting, packing and quality controlling hearts. Then there were those assembling boxes, adhering labels and arranging the hearts in their special packages including message cards and thank you's. Several hours later, right after large quantities of pizza were consumed, everyone turned to painting their own hearts to finish off the day's activities.

When all the work was said and done, a lot of fun was had by all. But more significantly was the sense of accomplishment and common mission. Whether they were taping boxes, cutting hearts or slapping gooey mod podge on the hearts as a sealant, everyone came away feeling they had done a little good in the world on this St. Patty's Day 2018.

Pennridge HS student paints a heart.

Slapping shipping labels on with a smile.

Packing tape to secure boxes for distribution.

Board members, chapter presidents and student volunteers all checking for quality control of outgoing Hearts of Hope.

Cutting heart shapes from flat slabs of clay.

Emily enjoys her winning raffle prize.

Pennridge HS students hard at working creating Hearts of Hope

Destiny keeps all the raffle tickets ready for the drawing.

Anna and Donna are all smiles after a slice of pizza and some labor of love.

Judy explains part of the process.

Connie treats ceramic hearts in

preparation for kiln firing.

Pennridge HS students enjoying mod podging finished hearts

Pennridge HS students  preparing finished hearts for shipping

Connie, Judy and Pattie take time to plan events

Members of the Pennridge High School Key Club pose in the camera corner

Destiny and Judy are all smiles in preparation for a day of creating Hearts of Hope

Ursinus College students make the most of props in the camera corner

Executive Director Judy demonstrates the final shaping of hearts.

Donna preps slabs of clay.

Pounding clay before cutting into slabs

Interrupted by the photographer.

Finished Hearts of Hope with their message cards ready for packing

Packing finished hearts in gift bags in boxes.