I woke up this morning to snow. Inches and inches of snow. If this were February I wouldn’t have thought twice about it. But today is March 23, two days into Spring. In fact, where I live in Ontario, Canada, we’ve been pretty much snow-free for almost a week and a half now.

So I was a bit surprised to find snow on the ground. I was more surprised to find that the power in my house had gone down. Thankfully I set my alarm on my iPhone to wake me up, but everything else had turned off overnight, including the heat.

The situation I found myself in was merely an inconvenience. I wasn’t able to start work a little bit later, and breakfast had to wait until the electric stove could be used again, but it was hardly a problem worth worrying about.

I’ve never woken up to find my whole world turned upside down.

In the afternoon of March 11, an earthquake that measured 8.9/9.0 in magnitude hit the northeastern coast of Japan. The next morning, the people of Japan up to a different world. The images we saw at the time and in the days that followed . While Japan is one of the best prepared nations to face such a catastrophe, there are still plenty of reasons why the rest of the world should think about helping.

And so, that’s what I plan to do.

Last week I had the idea of designing a poster to sell, with the funds going towards the relief effort. After some further thought, the idea of including others in the process came to mind. I wanted to have people draw hearts, which would then be put together in a poster to symbolize our heart for Japan.

I approached my new friend Mike Precious, an amazing designer from Brantford, Ontario, about the idea. He offered to take on the challenge of designing the website to promote the idea and gather the drawing submissions. As he was designing the site, I was teaching myself some CodeIgniter to handle the file uploads. A few days and one very late night later, and it was all ready to go.

Today, I am pleased to announce the launch of Love for Japan. The goal is simple: to raise awareness and funds for the relief effort in Japan.

However, I also have a secondary goal. I hope to communicate just how closely knit we all are. Our hearts are intertwined with another. When one brother or sister suffers, we all suffer. My hope is that Love for Japan will be a reminder that regardless of where we live, we truly are neighbours.

So pull out your sketchbook, grab a pen and share your heart. Then pre-order a poster so you can see just how full of love this world really is.