It started last November with a single string of Christmas lights on a Baltimore County street.
Kim Morton was home watching a movie with her daughter when she received a text from her neighbor who lives directly across the road. He told her to peek outside.
Matt Riggs had hung a string of white Christmas lights, stretching from his home to hers in the Rodgers Forge neighborhood, just north of the Baltimore city line. He also left a tin of homemade cookies on her doorstep.
The lights, he told her, were meant to reinforce that they were always connected despite their pandemic isolation.
“I was reaching out to Kim to literally brighten her world,” said Riggs, 48.
The strand of white lights that Matt Riggs strung from his home to Kim Morton’s house when he found out she was having a difficult time.
He knew his neighbor was facing a dark time. Morton had shared that she was dealing with depression and anxiety. She was also grieving the loss of a loved one and struggling with work-related stress. The mounting pressure led to panic attacks.
Riggs could relate.
Guiding his two teenagers through remote school was draining, financial angst was consuming and “by the end of the year I was just beside myself, 2020 was difficult for a lot of us,” he said.
A bit of brightness was in order, he decided, but he certainly did not expect that his one strand of Christmas lights would somehow spark a neighborhood-wide movement.
In the days that followed Riggs’s light-hanging gesture, neighbor after neighbor followed suit, stretching lines of Christmas lights from one side of the street to the other.
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