- Associated Press - Saturday, April 11, 2020

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - About 30 signs stood outside the Messiah New Hope Church in northern Sioux Falls on March 28.

The signs read words of encouragement like “I love you,” “I miss you,” and “Imagine” - part of a project Cyndy Huber started to fight back against isolation during the COVID-19 outbreak. Her husband, Scott, and their 8-year-old grandson, Koi Rettig, joined in the project.

By Monday, the signs were gone.

“Even the ‘Free signs’ sign was taken,” Scott told the Argus Leader.

The demand indicated just how much others wanted to see positivity and community around them, Cyndy said. Her hope was that people would place the signs outside of nursing home or homes where their loved ones were quarantined. When the person looked out the window, they’d see a sign and be reminded that they’re loved.

“It struck me - the domino effect that one sign can make,” Cyndy said. “We have enjoyed making them. People that pick out one sign, you see a smile on their face. Whoever they give it to hopefully also smiles, and others who see it too.”

“We’re kind of hoping those smiles are more infectious than this rotten disease,” Scott said.

The Hubers are planning to stake another 25 signs outside their church this weekend, and they’re hoping they’ll be gone shortly after as well. It’s been humbling to see how their actions have inspired other people, Cyndy said.

They thought maybe two people would pick up a sign, and they would have been happy with that. When they decided to make more, a neighbor dropped off a gallon of leftover paint from a house project to use.

“It’s all of the things that people have been doing - Light Up Sioux Falls, the bear hunts, hearts and rainbows in the windows, handing out goodie bags and checking in on neighbors,” Cyndy said. “I think a lot has been pushed aside and, now with this virus, it’s coming to the forefront of our minds that we need to care for each other. It’s remarkable how everybody seems to be doing something to spread the love.”

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