Cupid's arrow may not shoot down any Iraqi Scud missiles, but it may help the war effort anyway. Two local card shops have been giving away Valentine's Day cards to be sent to U.S. troops in the Persian Gulf.
Allen Coven, owner of Send Sations in Pikesville, hopes 1,000 people will take up his offer of free cards and postage to be used to keep up American troops' morale.
"A nice thought brightens up a gloomy day," said Mr. Coven.
When a customer wants to send a card, but doesn't know anyone in the gulf, Send Sations provides an address to "Any Soldier." Mr. Coven said teachers have requested cards so their students can show their concern for American servicemen.
Helene Bloom, owner of Standing Ovations, a card and gift shop at White Marsh Mall, followed a similar impulse over the weekend, setting up a table in front of her store so shoppers could sign Valentines that she donated to be sent to the troops.
A total of 250 people stopped by, and most did more than just sign their names, Ms. Bloom reported. "A lot of people really got into it," she said. "They were writing and writing and writing, often giving their addresses so they could become pen pals with whomever received the card."
She mailed all the cards Tuesday, designating half for land forces and half for troops at sea. "I just felt like, what could I do from my store that would really make me feel good," she said of her motivation. "And this really made me feel good."