Community residents get creative to share support during pandemic

By Angela Simmons, Weekly Editor

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, positivity can still be found all over Shiloh, Lebanon, and O’Fallon. Residents joined in with national and worldwide movements to decorate windows with hearts and bears, to chalk to walk in front of homes and businesses, putting up Christmas lights and trees, and posting signs. All of the efforts send a message of support to essential workers, and gives families something to search for on walks or drives. 

One local funeral home has encouraged residents to talk part in the fun, as well as offering several materials for residents to keep them occupied during the state’s Stay at Home order. 

“We here at Wolfersberger Funeral Home chose to be part of @chalkthewalk because it seemed like an easy way to get someone to smile. I had a box of chalk in the garage, waiting to be used! We have several kids in the neighborhood that were eager to draw, (maintaining proper distance and under supervision, of course) and since we are on a main walkway near downtown, several folks got to enjoy it. It’s that simple–it was an easy way to get someone to smile,” said owner Kim Sabella. 

The City of Lebanon positioned a giant teddy bear in the window of city hall, as well as a lit Christmas tree with the message “Our lighted tree represents our faith and fortitude as a community to overcome this crisis.”

Lebanon resident Jessica Carrell and her family drew colorful chalk messages and a chalk obstacle course outside their home.  “Participating in chalk the walk brought us joy and distraction for this mama! We ride the Barbie Jeep down everyday so my children can do the obstacle course we made. We love to watch people walk by, some smile and others participate! The smallest things bring the most joy right now,” she said. 

Tarrah Vaupel, a pastor in New Athens that lives in Shiloh set up a display outside her home on Seibert Road in Shiloh. She knew it would be visible to essential workers passing by, and wanted to show support for many while maintaining social distance. 

O’Fallon District 90 staff members living in town decorated their homes. “I have a sunshine, bears, and Easter eggs because I am a preschool teacher in District 90 and miss my students so much” said Betty Dietrich-Burgmann. 

The bears in windows are a nod to the children’s book We’re Going in a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxbury. 

“We have bears in the upstairs window. We love that book and its fun to go hunting when we walk. We have hearts are our door because we have many nurses and first responders in our lives we want to support. We painted our windows because, well, it was just fun” said O’Fallon resident Katie Brenner-Riley. 

It’s not too late to join in the positive messages. Here of some of the displays around the community.