This Valentine's Day, a group of Massachusetts moms is on a mission to fill President Donald Trump's mailbox with cards and photos. Their goal is to show the president the heartbreak they have experienced after losing loved ones to the opioid crisis, and their letter writing campaign is going viral.
Betty Pariseau of Brockton came up with the idea. She lost her youngest son, Matthew, to an overdose almost a year ago. She wanted to find a way to personalize the opioid epidemic by putting faces to the numbers.
"It's always numbers, but if you go to a vigil and you look at the pictures, that's where I think the impact comes," Pariseau said.
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Pariseau enlisted the help of Cheryl Juaire, a Marlborough mother who lost her son, Corey Merrill, to an overdose in 2011 and has since started grief support groups. Juaire posted the event on Facebook and it is now filled with letters from parents across the country who also plan on sending them.
"Before I knew it, we went national," Pariseau said. "I'm talking to people in Canada. I'm talking to people in the Midwest."
The mothers said President Trump declaring the opioid crisis a public health emergency last year is not enough. They want more funding, beds and other treatment resources. They hope by sending the letters with their loved ones' faces straight to the top, the impact will go straight to the president's heart.
"These are the voices of our children," Juaire said. "We can no longer fight for our child, but we can fight for yours."
The mothers are asking anyone who wants to participate to send the letters on Feb. 10 so the surge of mail will start to arrive around Valentine's Day.