What began as a supportive gesture for struggling neighbors, grew into a community-wide demonstration of love and light. People living in the same neighborhood have strung up holiday lights that connect them from one end to the other. The centerpiece of this lovely display is a handmade sign which reads: “Love Lives here”
According to reports, the whole thing began last year in November when Matt Riggs and his wife learned about their neighbor, Kim Morton, having a rough time managing pandemic-related stress and anxiety. Hoping to give her a reason to smile, the pair hung a string of white Christmas lights that stretched from their home to hers. They also left a tin of homemade cookies on her doorstep.
The idea was to let Kim know she wasn’t alone. This gesture not only moved Kim but also the entire neighborhood in Maryland who began following the couple’s lead. They started connecting single strands of lights from one house to the next until the whole community was tethered by the light.
“Within a few days more lights had shown up at the bottom of the street,” recalled Riggs. Shortly after this, a neighbor, Melissa DiMuzio, came up with a touching message that would define the strings of light and give them more meaning. She created a large “Love Lives here” sign by hand before putting it on display.
“Bent coat hanger wires into the letters and tied the rope lights to the wire to make that happen,” said Riggs explaining how she made it. “It took many hours, eight to 10 hours, I think, of labor to put that together.” And before the Riggs knew it, their small gesture became Dunkirk Road’s inaugural annual holiday display.
Now, a year later, the display has returned. Per KTVU, the community actually came together last month to make an event out of it. The roads were briefly closed off as residents came out with their ladders, tools, and Christmas music to turn their loving community into a beautiful sight. Apart from the many new lights, they have also added inspirational words like “Dream” and “Believe” to the display.
“This block is doing it themselves now, and it just grew so far beyond what I expected. I didn’t expect anything, really,” expressed Riggs. “We’re connected. I’m literally, physically attached with our neighbors….
We’re in this together, holding hands together across the road. It’s beautiful, and I’m so excited about it and touched.” Last month’s effort lasted two days where residents used more sturdy material to keep the lights shining strongly. They plan to have the display every year now.