By Brooke Geery
All around the country, people are finding ways to connect without actual contact, and one of those is through lights. Here in Rutland, Rutland Regional Medical Center illuminated its Christmas star, which gave Nancy Greenwood an idea.
The local Realtor and community activist turned to Facebook to help spread message that actual lights were helping to bring figurative light to the world in these dark times.
“I thought to myself, it would be great if we had one page where everyone could post their pictures of their homes/businesses lit up with lights and stars as a thank you to all our essential workers,” she said.
Help Vermont Light up the World was born on Friday, March 27, and within a week, had grown to a group of nearly 20,000.
“People are scared and depressed and really needed something for inspiration, some positivity and just looking for human interaction,” Greenwood said. “With this group they are meeting people all over the world, seeing each other’s pictures of lights of all kinds- stars, holiday lights, sunrise, sunsets, hospitals and essential businesses also adding holiday lights and stars. It has really taken everyone to come together as one to participate in this to make it into what this group is today, which just keeps growing more each day.”
The group now has over 24,000 members and receives an average of 3,000 posts per day.
The movement has inspired others, such as Teena Perkins Betourney of Middlebury, who began crafting wooden stars for others to light up. For $12 a pop, Betourney advertised her stars on the Facebook group and in less than 30 minutes, all 50 they’d created were spoken for. People were asked to donate if they could, and the proceeds went to benefit the Middlebury Regional EMS.
Greenwood is thrilled at the impact her online efforts have made.
“It makes me feel really happy and good when people say the highlight of their day is coming onto the group page and scrolling through all the pictures of the lights, posts of encouragement and information of things available to everyone in their town. They express how much they love how positive and uplifting this group is. Nothing negative or political is allowed to be posted,” she said. “It’s amazing to me that we have reached people all over the world literally. Vermont really is lighting up the world!”
To join and follow the group visit facebook.com/groups/255210752165239.