Anyone who happens upon the Welshire community at dusk on a Wednesday night will encounter a beautiful glow on every corner.
At this time of lock-down, some neighborhoods have started weekly scavenger hunts and others are seeing many more residents taking regular strolls.
This north Wilmington community has embarked on their own new tradition to get neighbors outside to connect, while naturally keeping a “socially” safe and healthy distance.
Welshire’s glowing lights of thoughtfully placed candles on front lawns and street corners have become a heartwarming community ritual every Wednesday evening.
The simple candle-lighting ceremony begins at dusk, when neighbors quietly step outside and walk to the edge of their property with an old shipping box or plastic tub that they flip over and use as a table. On top of the table, they’ll place one, two, or an entire collection of candles, which is often accompanied by a handmade poster of thanks to healthcare providers.
One of those neighbors is Erin Jacob, who worked with others to create a few posters for the neighborhood. “I was so excited to do this. It took a minute to find the supplies, but I managed a piece of cardboard and a Sharpie pen and away we went,” she said.
The idea started with an invitation by two neighbors, Mary Beth Thompson and Kristen Bruce, who shared their “Let There be Light” idea in an email to members of the Welshire Civic Association on March 30th.
The letter stated in part:
This is an extremely stressful, risky, and exhausting time for our family members, friends and strangers who are healthcare providers… Many are on the front lines of facing the COVID-19 enemy.
We have the opportunity to show our support for doctors, nurses, technicians and ALL healthcare providers. The Welshire Civic Association encourages everyone to place a luminary or candle, real or battery activated, outside your home on April 1st to “Let There Be Light” and show our support for all of these everyday heroes.”
In an effort to help ensure everyone could join in, the WCA placed boxes with individually bagged candles and votives for residents at all of the ‘internal’ intersections of the neighborhood. Each candle was sanitized/disinfected and placed in its own brown bag.
Many residents simply used the candles they already had on hand, and some placed thoughtful arrangements just outside their front doors. Others simply turned on faux candles they already had inside their windows. Most residents illuminated their homes in one fashion or another.
“Well we think of them (front line healthcare workers) all day long every day, and we are so thankful for what they do for those in need,” said Jacob. “And it’s a way for us to assemble our thoughts and send them out to them — to light a candle and enjoy a candle. And it brings us together as a community,” she said.
So many residents enjoyed the first lighting event on April 1st that residents have now decided to stage the candle-lighting and gather weekly.
The lighting ceremony gives residents something to look forward to, and it seems to have made residents feel more connected.
“It is so nice for people to nod to one another at our six-foot distance and to notice how many people are wanting to be a part of this. And we were thankful for that bring together for the community that we wanted to repeat it,” said Jacob.