Helena residents light candles to spread hope

By SCOTT MIMS / Staff Writer

The residents of Helena are letting their lights shine—literally—to spread a positive message of unity during the most difficult days of the coronavirus pandemic.

The “Let Hope Shine in Helena” project involves each participant lighting a candle or luminary in their driveway each Sunday and Wednesday evening while offering a small prayer. This allows neighbors to band together for a common cause without breaking social distancing guidelines.

“It’s actually a culmination of things we had seen other communities participating in and decided this would be perfect for our little town,” said organizer Cathy Sarris, who posted the idea on Helena’s social media pages.

The idea is to form a prayer chain for those on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis, such as doctors, nurses, health care professionals, truck drivers, grocery store employees and restaurant workers, Sarris said.

She said the response from the entire city has been overwhelming.

“The reason behind this is to show support for those that are working so hard for us every day and to say we appreciate them as a community,” Sarris said. “Helena has had several families affected by coronavirus, and we want them to know we are here for each other during this difficult time.”

One Helena neighbor, Laurice Ransom, is a nurse currently serving in a New York City hospital in the epicenter of the epidemic, Sarris pointed out.

“We hope she feels the love and support from home here in Helena, and knows that we are so very proud of her!” Sarris said.

Let Hope Shine in Helena takes place every Sunday and Wednesday beginning at 7 p.m. with lighting candles or luminaries, followed by a prayer offering from 7:05 to 7:10 p.m. Participants are encouraged to wave to their neighbors as an additional sign of unity and peace.