An online group hunts for hearts during the COVID-19 pandemic
COLUMBIA - Following Governor Mike Parson's "Stay Home Missouri" order, Missourians are asked to continue practicing "social distancing" and stay home until April 24.
Knowing health workers and first responders are still fighting COVID-19 on the front line, a Facebook group named "Heart Hunters" have gathered almost 800,000 members to share their love and support for people in need.
Krista Wynes, founder of the Facebook group which began on March 21, said she never thought the group would get this big.
"At first it was very little work," Wynes said. "But about four days into the group, we were 124,000 people when I woke up on Tuesday morning."
Although it has been a crazy ride for Wynes, she believes what they're doing in the group is a big deal for people who need support.
"One woman, I think she is elderly, told me in her private massage 'I don't spend much time on Facebook, however, I almost spent the entire day yesterday on Facebook and I'm not ashamed at all,'" Wynes said.
As the group becomes bigger, more Missourians have started to share photos of themselves making and finding hearts.
Allyson Rose, who lives in California, Missouri, said she joined the group a few days after it was started. Rose has been cutting and posting hearts in her window and has been inviting friends to join the group.
Wynes said as the time goes by, she has seen an increased number of health workers join the group.
"It's amazing how many hospitals have put up hearts on their window," Wynes said. "Some of the ones that really, really touched me are the ones that come from pediatric facilities."
Wynes said the size of the "heart hunters" group is still growing every day, and it's bringing the group from a local to an international level. Therefore, she brought a dozen of her family members and friends to help monitor the group.
"The humanitarian side of this is that you can go outside, walk, drive, look for hearts that way," she said. "But for people that are inside, quarantined, that are ill, sick, elderly can't get out, they can still hunt hearts and look through your window virtually."