A community defined: How neighbors join efforts to assist those in need

One of many chalk drawings that appeared around Tempe and West Chandler as the lockdown took effect.

By Michelle Hirsch

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping’.” It was a memorable Fred Rogers line, one that holds particular meaning today.

In our 30 years of publishing Wrangler News, we’ve shared countless uplifting stories of the helpers in our neighborhoods.

Now, more than ever, community members are reaching out to support each other and stay connected, within the boundaries of social distancing.

Taking a walk or bike ride unveils an array of chalk art on sidewalks and driveways, offering positive messages like “smile loudly, stay strong, be positive, enjoy your walk, we are all connected” accompanying colorful drawings of hearts, flowers, rainbows, peace signs and smiley faces.

Teddy bears and Easter egg art in front windows give families something to “hunt for” on their outdoor treks to enjoy the weather and get some exercise.

Colorful notes posted on light poles and community mailboxes encourage activities like “name an animal that is yellow” or “look for 5 green things” to add to the exploration resulting from walks through the neighborhood.

Diane Repp said she wanted to bring hope and joy for neighbors who are holed up inside, which motivated her to make colorful bows that could hang on front gates in her Alta Mirada neighborhood.

She wasn’t sure how to get enough supplies to make one for every gate, so she stopped in Fred’s Flowers to share her idea the owner. Repp said she was“overwhelmed, and I cried tears of joy” when a big box of ribbon and wire magically appeared to support the bow project.

Two employees also volunteered their time to help Repp, her sister-in-law and a friend make over 200 bows with tags reading “Hope—Corona doesn’t mean surrender.”

Neighbor Judy Aguilar volunteered to help hang the colorful bows on front gates. The ladies were met with smiles and appreciation from neighbors, Repp said, as they went from gate to gate, placing their bows of hope in what Repp called a “labor of love, bringing some added hope and joy to their already beautiful community.”

Residents of the Circle G and Estate La Colina neighborhoods shined a collective light on some of the recent dark days to show support for healthcare and other frontline workers by displaying luminarias and candles in front of their homes.

“This allows our communities to shine bright despite the circumstances,” said one resident.

”Just drove through Circle G on the way home from my 12-hour shift in the ER,” said one nurse. Thank you from one working knee-deep, in the front lines. Having already been exposed multiple times to this virus, this truly warmed my heart!” posted another resident.

You can share on Wrangler News’ Facebook or Instagram pages more examples of how you or your neighbors are helping to keep the community informed and connected.

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