Each year on October 15, Sweet Pea Project holds our Annual Remembrance Gathering. The evening begins with families writing notes on small squares of handmade paper that has wildflower seeds embedded in it. The notes are then tucked inside sap-based biodegradable balloons. When they burst, the notes will be reclaimed by the earth and wildflowers will sprout out of our love letters to our children. Quiet music is played (this year we have a guitarist, last year we had bass and mandolin) as each name is read aloud, and balloons are released one by one. It is breathtakingly beautiful to watch the balloons join one another in the sky, though it always tugs on my heart to see so many up there.
It is always a meaningful evening, and what is extra touching is the fact that several other remembrance gatherings occur along with ours, all across the country (and even internationally!) We really hope that happens again this year. Summer is flying by and autumn will be here before you know it, which means it is already time to start thinking about this year's event.
Because Sweet Pea Project is a federally recognized 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, we are officially on the radar and can be held liable for things associated with our name and so we need to handle the details of our affiliated events carefully. As we did last year, we are asking all remembrance gatherings that wish to affiliate themselves with us (and we really hope you do!) to order their supplies directly through us. This will allow us to be certain that all supplies used meet our eco-friendly standards, and it will also be more cost effective for you since we will be able to save money by ordering in bulk. For $35 (for US events, slightly more for international events due to shipping costs) you will receive biodegradable balloons, raffia and seed paper for 100 guests. You are welcome to order as much as you need, we just ask that all requests be made no later than September 1st because our paper supplier is in Canada and we want to make sure everything arrives in time.
Sweet Pea Project will help promote your event by mentioning it in our own press release, announcing it on our facebook page and adding it to our event page www.sweetpeaproject.org/remember. If you create a facebook event page we will add links to that from our website as well. I will also be happy to design a postcard/flier for your event if you would like, though you are free to create your own if you would prefer. Please use wording such as "Lancaster's Remembrance Gathering in affiliation with Sweet Pea Project" or something to that effect.
You will want to consider finding an approved venue for the gathering and check your local laws for balloon releases, even though ours is eco-friendly some locations may still not allow it. The date for your gathering must be Monday, October 15, 2012. Part of what makes this such a beautiful event is knowing that even though we are in different parts of the world, we are all standing together remembering these children, and so it is important that we are all doing it on October 15, National Remembrance Day.
You will also be responsible for the helium. We were able to find a local grocery store that was willing to donate their tank to us last year, ask around and explain what you need it for and you might be able to get a donation or a good deal.
I am really looking forward to this year's event. It is so wonderful to know that there are others all across the country stopping and looking up to the sky, remembering our children in unison that evening. I really hope you will be a part of this again this year. If you have any questions at all please do not hesitate to contact Stephanie@sweetpeaproject.org.