Shelby County communities organizing lantern lighting to show unity during COVID-19 crisis


SHELBY COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — Several neighborhoods and cities in Alabama are participating in the “Let there be light” event on Wednesday, April 1.

The event asks for people to put a lantern or some kind of light outside their home at 7:00 pm to show support for all of those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.

Helena is participating, a city that has seen confirmed COVID-19 cases. Another neighborhood participating is Riverchase in Hoover.

Kim Rohloff has been one of the parents helping spread the word about the “Let there be light” even in her Riverchase community. She said she hopes people feel together, even when we’re physically apart.

“I think it’s just going to be an overwhelming excitement for us,” Rohloff said. “No one has seen this in our history so I think it definitely will bring some tears to the community but also a great way to unite and show support for everyone on the front lines.”

Hoover police chief Nick Derzis said he and his officers appreciate the support from the community and knows that simply lighting a candle makes a difference.

“I think the community will show it’s support for everybody. Our Riverchase and Hoover community is a community that is responsive and I think just driving around and seeing so many people at home right now and doing social distancing and not just walking families. It’s just something this community wants the support and show everyone that lighting Wednesday night, there is light at the end of the tunnel,” Derzis said.

Rohloff said this event is for everyone fighting the pandemic, from the medical professionals to the gas station clerk.

“I think the folks here in Riverchase just want to show their support not only medical professionals, first responders, everybody that is out making a difference so even grocery stores, restaurants staying open to feed everybody, and gas station attendants. It’s really for everyone that is supporting everyone,” said Chief Derzis.

If you don’t have a lantern, you can make one at home. It’s recommended to get a paper lunch bag, cut the top off, get some sand or something to hold the paper bad dog, and place a battery operated light inside.

Everyone is being asked to place their lights in the front of their house at 7 p.m.


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