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Spread the Love: York County residents create positive messages during pandemic

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch

For almost seven years, Wendy Hersey's job driving a garbage truck in Manchester Township has been typically consistent: the same houses, the same neighborhoods and the same residents.

Lately, though, the views on her route have changed. Rainbows, brightly colored hearts and teddy bears line the sidewalks and houses of the streets she passes, spreading positive messages and encouragement for Hersey and all who drive by. 

"People can rise above things that are going on; people can rise above all of this and show care and concern for their neighbor," said Hersey, who lives in Red Lion. "When I'm working and driving around, it lifts my spirits."

The positive messages and imagery aren't just in Manchester Township — they're appearing all over York County and across the United States.

The Spread the Love campaign has taken hold for crafty Americans across the country, encouraging many to spread messages of positivity during a time when many are feeling hopeless and afraid, as cases of COVID-19 continue to grow across the globe.

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With some colorful paper, glue, scissors and chalk, anybody is able to participate by sharing uplifting messages and imagery on sidewalks and on windows in their homes.

Tammy Camacho, along with her 10-year-old daughter Victoria, decided to get in on the crafting and constructed a sign that spelled "Love." The four letters are displayed in each of the four windows of Camacho's apartment.

"It's just not the same; (the kids) are kind of discouraged right now because they don't know when they're going back to school," said Camacho, of Hanover. "So I thought it would be neat for my daughter to participate in."

To pass the time, Camacho and Victoria have made lots of crafts, including decorations for Easter and balloon do-it-yourself projects. 

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Wanting to help spread positivity, Camacho said she decided to craft the cheerful messages displayed outside her home to provide comfort for others during this time of uncertainty.

"Just be positive. It's tough, but we're going to get through it," Camacho said. "And just know there are people that you don't even know — that care."

For Hersey, she said the messages help her get through the day. 

As a mother of five with a daughter, Ashleigh Downin, in her senior year of high school at York Tech, Hersey said the future for her child's graduation and prom is uncertain. 

"That can bring you down really easily as a parent," Hersey said. 

Stella Snelbaker, 7, chalks cheerful drawings on her driveway in Manchester Township, Wednesday, April 1, 2020. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Hersey, who works at Penn Waste, said the workload has recently increased and the volume of trash being produced is "astronomically amazing."

One message in particular that made Hersey smile was "Thank you workers" written in chalk. For Hersey and other workers who have jobs deemed essential by the government, the support for those continuing to work makes all the difference, she said.

"Continue being kind, continue being caring," Hersey said. "We're made to be this way, we're made to be caring human beings. It makes you feel good to give, as well as receive it."

"Thank you workers" is one of the messages of encouragement found on South Maurice Street in Manchester Township, Wednesday, April 1, 2020. Dawn J. Sagert photo

— Reach Tina Locurto at tlocurto@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.