A project that hangs small wind chimes with bells is becoming a healing remedy for grieving communities following tragic mass shootings.
An Arizona mom in mourning started “Ben’s Bells” after her little boy passed away from illness. She wanted to say thank-you for the many kindnesses that were shown her, passing it forward so other people would remember how kindness heals.
A few years later, the project grew, embraced by a shocked Tucson community following the shooting of Congresswoman Giffords and thirteen other citizens. Hundreds of volunteers painted, assembled and hung the ceramic wind chimes from random branches, and doorknobs and playgrounds around the city.
Last week Ben’s mom, Jeannette Maté, traveled with friends to the location of the latest tragedy, Newtown, Conn., carrying 1,000 bells to distribute to a community in need of smiles. Once unpacked, the group stood in the snow and rang the little bells in solidarity with Tucson bell-ringers marking two years to the day since the Arizona shooting.
The chimes were then hung from trees and in doorways along, each with a note that reads: “You have found a Ben’s Bell. Take it home, hang it and remember to spread kindness throughout our world.”
On the flip side of the tag for these particular bells, a note was added, “This bell symbolizes our connection as a community and the power we each have to change the world by committing to kindness, one interaction at a time. We surround all of those who were affected by the events of Dec. 14 with love and kindness.”
The love came from other communities too, where people sent their own handmade wind chimes — mailed from North Carolina, Illinois and Idaho — to help blanket this town with reminders of solidarity.
One graduate of Newtown High School, Kristin Savopoulos, said her sister found one of the bells on January 9, and called it “amazing”.
“It was the talk of the town, and changed her spirits.”
(READ the local story, w/ photos, in the Newtown Bee – Video from Tucson’s KGUN)