MALIBU : Residents Send Heartfelt Thoughts to Kobe

From one disaster victim to another, the flood-ravaged city of Malibu is sending drawings of hearts with messages of empathy to residents of earthquake-stricken Kobe.

The images were collected, and compiled into a book, by members of Hearts Across the Sea. The group was allowed to use the drawings by Art for Hearts' Sake, a Malibu-based philanthropic organization that has a collection of more than 300 drawings of hearts donated by leaders in the field of politics, entertainment, art, journalism and sports.

Malibu merchant Marina Strong, a former resident of Japan, initiated the project.

"After speaking with several friends and associates in Tokyo, I knew that the ideal gift would be the relatively inexpensive, aesthetic expression of caring and hope," said Strong, owner of Memoirs. "The fact that Malibuites will take an active part in creating the gifts will make them even more special."

Mayor Jeffrey W. Kramer, who signed the book along with the council's four members, presented the book to a representative of the Japanese Consulate on Feb. 11 at Geoffrey's restaurant.

The book, complete with English and Japanese messages, includes 11 heart-themed drawings from the likes of former Presidents Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford, actress Elizabeth Taylor, actor-dancer Gene Kelly and singer Rod Stewart.

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