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Random acts of neighborly kindness, solidarity abound in Atlanta right now

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Despite coronavirus restrictions, one Decatur boy had a birthday surprise for the ages

A little boy has a lot of balloons tied to his bike in a community of townhomes.
The scene Saturday at porches around the Brownstones at Decatur community.
Screen-capture via video courtesy of Stu Thompson

Tough times call for tough measures—and creative neighbors.

Faced with drastically limited social options and a new stay-at-home order in the City of Atlanta, residents in Georgia’s capital and satellite cities are finding truly inventive ways to connect, distract, applaud, and assist.

There’s a push for handmade hearts on the facades of East Point homes and a campaign of good-vibes chalk art messages afoot in Brookhaven, along with many positive happenings in between, as Curbed Atlanta readers share below.


One uplifting act of neighborhood solidarity happened this past weekend at the Brownstones at Decatur, a cove of 80 townhouses on Scott Boulevard.

That’s where Kai Thompson had learned, as news of the novel coronavirus’s severity spread, that his seventh birthday party this past weekend could be cancelled.

“He took it pretty well,” reports Kai’s father, Stu Thompson. “It was sad.”

Meanwhile, Kai’s mother reached out to neighborhood parents and urged them to place birthday well-wishes for the boy on front doors and windows. But neighbors took it a step further, as Kai discovered Saturday when his garage door opened to a surprise for the ages.

“There were a few tears shed discretely,” Stu Thompson wrote in an email. “Kai was shocked and pleased—he smiled all day long.

“I really hope that this kind of stuff is happening everywhere.”

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Amanda Perelez McCullars says her neighborhood, DuPont Commons in West Midtown, has hosted two scavenger hunts as socially safe distractions.

“One was a rainbow hunt and now we have a bear hunt going on,” she writes. “People having been coloring rainbows and putting them in their windows. Now we all have stuffed bears in our windows too! Trying to spread some cheer!”

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Last week, more than 200 Atlantans banded together to pack and deliver some 35,000 meals to Atlanta’s high-risk elderly community, says Brandon Jenkins, the agency’s digital and customer marketing manager.

“Meals On Wheels Atlanta is a lifeline for many seniors in our city,” Jenkins writes. “COVID-19 has forced us to change our regular operations, expand our production, and increase our supplies. We are completely blown away by the outpouring of support from our community.”

A group of workers move boxes full of meals to cars.
Meals On Wheels Atlanta in action recently.
Photo courtesy of Brandon Jenkins

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Parks Pope, a Red Phone Booth bartender, is making a series of cocktail hour videos on Facebook for Atlanta neighbors who’d like to join. “He’s trapped in his house social distancing,” writes neighbor Crystal Paulk-Buchanan. “It’s happening now and hilarious!”

He invites all to join “Parks Pope pandemic cocktail hour” group on Facebook.

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At 8 p.m. sharp last night, droves of Midtown high-rise dwellers stepped out onto their balconies to “applaud all of the medical care workers, grocery store workers, and other people working to keep us fed and safe,” reports Mark B Atl. (See the video here.)

Manuel Rodriguez adds that Midtown residents plans to make this audible salute a tradition at 8 p.m. each night.

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Stone Mountain has created a Facebook group for local support and help and ideas for everyone to cope during this time, relays Shani Linder, an agent with Better Homes and Gardens Metro Brokers, Northlake Office.

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Steven Carse, founder of iconic Atlanta popsicle maker King of Pops, has been working to create what he calls “unexpected moments of happiness”—or UMOHs.

The company recently launched a GoFundMe in hopes of raising $25,000 that would go toward a 10,000-pop donation to hospital and emergency-response workers.

“We need your help to reach our goal and bring a smile to the faces of these heroes that are risking so much,” Carse said in an email blast.

As of press time, almost $5,000 had been raised to provide medical professionals with the cold treats.

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In East Lake, as Max Dupree relays: “People are leaving jigsaw puzzles on their porches for exchange with neighbors to keep everyone occupied here.”

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In Cabbagetown, organizers with the Chicken Noodle Network have been dropping flyers at residences, offering to pick up food and other supplies for those in need.

“Several low-risk volunteers have signed up to brave the stores and go for supply runs on your behalf,” the flyer says.

It’s not free, but the service allows people at risk to circumvent the crowds at grocery stores.

Additionally, the flyer comes with a yellow ribbon attached “for those who are not comfortable coming outside their home but need assistance.”

Patrons of the program just need to tie the ribbon to their front door knob, and a Chicken Noodle Network volunteer will contact them discreetly.

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In Brookhaven, Balloonacy & Flowers By Holland has offered a service “where you can purchase pops of balloons to spread some neighborhood cheer,” writes Murray-Caryn Briggs. (It’s kind of like boo-ing people’s porches around Halloween, but with flowers and balloons.)

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Meanwhile, reports Nikki Jensen, a “Post-it War” is afoot among Midtown dwellers:

A photo of large buildings with Post-It messages on the windows. Nikki Jensen

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Atlanta artist Kelly Breedlove set up a surprise pop-up art gallery for his neighbors to enjoy on two floors of The Stacks Lofts in Cabbagetown.

A piece of paper on a wall with words on it. Kelly Breedlove

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And finally, around the northern realms of ITP, Ursula Shields spread love and appreciation with chalk at a couple dozen places in recent days. “I went around to restaurants and businesses that I frequent as well as hospitals, police, and fire,” writes Shields, “to leave love notes in chalk on their sidewalks.”

A photo of sidewalks with chalk on them. Ursula Shields

— Associate editor Sean Keenan contributed to this report