VIENNA, Va. (WDVM) — It all started with some leftover wood, power tools, and a can of spray paint. Now, brightly colored wooden lawn signs are popping up all over the neighborhood — and they’re doing more than just spreading cheer.
“I wasn’t really thinking that it’d be maybe beyond a couple dozen signs and it has just become really popular in town, just a symbol of hope,” said the founder of the Rustic Love Vienna project, Michelle Davila.
She decided to create lawn signs to sell, with the profits going towards food insecure families and first responders. Donations from the sales go towards the Vienna Foodies group, which provides restaurants with the proceeds to make food for those in need.
“She was just a new, friendly neighbor that reached out and said, ‘I see what the Vienna Foodies group is doing, sending food deliveries out. I want to help, I can make these signs,’ and she just kind of went for it,” said Lydia Russo, Co-Founder of Vienna VA Foodies.
Russo says that the amount of meals donated is in the thousands.
“We coordinated with teachers, and counselors at all the local schools and every day as much as we could would send deliveries, and it would help in turn the restaurants,” she said.
The business has gone beyond the Davila family, with local students volunteering to pitch in.
“It doesn’t cost anything to be a basic human being, so why not take my skills and put it towards something where it benefits others,” said Justin Hiller, volunteer.
Davila says that the signs have a simple heart on them, with no political affiliation — just to show love and spread cheer throughout the community.
“I’ve seen one hundred or so around town, but whenever we’re driving around I’m like, ‘Mom, look that’s one of the signs!'” said Sydney Connors, volunteer.
Davila says there is no end in sight quite yet for the project.
“It just sort of makes sense for us to keep going. A lot of people have gotten involved, volunteering, helping us make things,” she said. “So we want to kind of keep the momentum going, to make sure we can help as many people as possible.”
In total, 1,000 wooden lawn signs have been made and over $70,000 dollars raised for food-insecure families.