EDITORIAL: We need to make Spread the Love campaign into unstoppable movement

York Dispatch
  • The Spread the Love campaign is taking hold in York County and across the nation.
  • Folks are posting positive messages on signs, on sidewalks and on social media.
  • Folks in York County are also finding ways to spread love through their actions.
Jackson Rowland, 5, gets a birthday surprise from Northeastern Regional Police Department on Sunday, April 5.

Isolation, fear and hopelessness can be a toxic trio of emotions.

Unfortunately, during trying times, such as the one we are enduring right now, they also seem to be the three most rampant emotions filling up our brains.

That’s understandable. The coronavirus pandemic has isolated all of us. It’s only rational to be afraid, and it’s only natural to feel hopeless.

The numbers that daily jump to the top of our news feeds and the headlines that daily scream across the top of our front pages are scary. The total number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. have soared past 300,000 and deaths are approaching 10,000.

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So, what can we do to fight the negative impulses that threaten to pull us into a cavern of depression?

We can fight back by focusing on the positive. Even in this dark period, there are many shining beacons of light to show us the way out of the cavern.

Spread the Love: Here in York County, and across the United States, folks are posting positive messages on signs, on sidewalks and on social media. They are also exuding positive vibes through their actions.

It’s part of the Spread the Love campaign.

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

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

Lately, though, her route has 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.

Happy birthday: When 5-year-old Jackson Rowland's birthday party was canceled over coronavirus concerns, the Northeastern Regional Police Department stepped in to provide a birthday surprise for him — nothing short of a personal parade down his block.

Watch: Northeastern Regional gives birthday surprise to 5-year-old Mount Wolf boy

Two police cars hauling a large digital sign that spelled out "Happy Birthday Jackson" led five firetrucks with sirens blaring down Olde Hickory Road in Mount Wolf on Sunday. One officer sung to Jackson over the patrol car's speaker while another officer brought him a basket of gifts, including a few teddy bears, a coloring book and candy.

Mother-daughter bond: Donna Bortner fills a bird feeder outside of her mother’s bedroom window every couple of days.

She doesn’t live far from ManorCare Health Services-Kingston Court, where her mother, Janet Seitz, 89, became a resident following an illness just over a year ago. Seitz also suffers from dementia.

Pandemic can't fracture bond between Springettsbury mother and daughter

Before the COVID-19 pandemic guidelines went into effect, Bortner would enjoy the visits with her mother while sitting with other residents on the patio or other open areas because her mother loves being outdoors.

Now she can only tap on her mother's window screen, but their mother-daughter bond can never be broken.

Singing and dancing, virtually: Hundreds of students from Valley View and Yorkshire elementary schools gathered for an assembly Friday morning.

It was just like any other school day, except this event was all done virtually. 

Hundreds of York Suburban students danced, sang in virtual assembly

Showing toothy grins, York Suburban kindergartners sat in their pajamas with their parents, miles away from school as they listened to Lancaster-based children’s musician Steven Courtney deliver his first performance over Zoom, a popular video conferencing software.

Throughout his singing performance, students were jumping up and down, raising their hands in the air or flapping their arms like birds as Courtney encouraged them to follow the motions.

Take up the challenge: Fortunately for all of us, events such as the ones described above are hardly outliers in York County.

They are taking place every day in every corner of the county. Folks around here have taken up the challenge of spreading love in any way they can. This is a burgeoning campaign that needs to become an unstoppable movement.

There's just one pivotal question to ask yourself. 

What have you done to Spread the Love?