SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Many San Diegans are missing out on their Friday night block parties and neighborly chats. However, one Encinitas community is finding a way to stay connected during the stay at home order.
We’ve seen neighbors across the world put up holiday lights, play music, or turn light switches on and off to say 'hi' to each other.
In Encinitas, they’re using bells and instruments to spread hope throughout San Diego County.
When the clock strikes 7 p.m. each night, Olivenhain neighbors emerge from their homes to say hello to their neighbors with bells, music, and a hello.
Homes in the neighborhood are spread out and many people look like stick figures waving on the hillside, but you know they are there.
Rob LaBreche saw his hometown in Connecticut ringing bells to help bring neighbors together during social distancing and shelter in place.
“The first night we rang our bells, hit our pots and pans. There were not that many people doing it, so we felt silly,” said LaBreche.
Now the bells have grown louder since Monday and instruments have been added and so have pots and pans.
“During the crisis, you want to do something to help and there are a lot of things we can do to help. Some people kind of forget that it’s our spirit that we have to help as well,” said LaBreche.
The father has invited neighbors on Nextdoor who say the sound is echoing throughout their neighborhood too.
“It’s been gratifying unity people in Encinitas and hopefully San Diego,” said LaBreche.
His wife Leah says it’s the best part of her day, “I’m in a stressful industry and I just want to come outside and get some fresh air and laugh, enjoy the music, and know that we are in this together."
Their five-year-old son Landon, says he can’t wait until 7 p.m. and through the shrubs and up the hillsides you can see children ringing their bells and shouting their 'hello.'
“People are important it’s nice through this crisis to take a step back and appreciate what we have. Be in this together and the most important thing in our lives are the people around us,” said LaBreche.
Rob said a couple on the hill didn’t want to leave their house but texted him to say they enjoy the 7 p.m. hello each night. On Friday, the couple joined the nightly neighborhood greeting.