Valentine's Day is supposed to be about love. And yet the holiday has never been associated much with spreading that love to needy people.
There are Thanksgiving food drives and Christmas toy drives, but Valentine's Day is still all about hearts, flowers, candy and cards.
A Bethesda girl named Lena Goldweber and her friends Nino Nadareishvili and Melissa Rivas are trying change that.
This year, for the second year in a row, they are making Valentine's Day cards and then selling them in the neighborhood to raise money for the Capital Area Food Bank.
"It's a way to help people who are homeless or don't have enough food," said Lena, 10, a fourth-grader. "They don't have a lot of stuff like we do, so it's good to help them."
Last year, Lena and her friends raised about $18 selling the cards for $1 each. This year, they're hoping to raise about $40.
The cards are fancy creations, made from things Lena and her mom save in a box all year: sequins, lace, feathers, glitter. She's got a hole-puncher that punches heart-shaped holes. They use blank cards made of heavy paper. On the back, they put a sticker that says the card sales go to the food bank.
Lena's favorite card so far?
"A Cinderella card I made," she said. "I cut a picture of her out of a box."
Lena's mom, Barb Siegel, explained how her daughter got the idea.
"I'm an artist and I take some of my stuff to fairs and sell it, so that's how she learned you can sell art," she said, noting that Lena's grandmother has talked to her a lot about homelessness and helping others.
She hopes Lena's card sale tradition can grow and that the idea spreads to others. Last year, the friends sold their creations in the neighborhood. This year they have expanded the project to include Lena's Sunday school.
Lena just loves the whole process -- creating the fancy cards, having a good time with her friends and seeing how much people like their work.
"People that walk down my street buy them!" she said. "It's so much fun."
-- Fern Shen