Local family spreads hope through #treeofjoy challenge

A hand-crafted sign says ‘you are not alone’ on a tree in front of TJ and Allison Markley’s home.

A Pella family is spreading hope, kindness and joy with the #treeofjoy challenge in light of COVID-19 closures and social distancing.

TJ and Allison Markley encouraged their children to create works of art with supplies they have on hand, like yarn, wrapping paper, balloons, crate paper and a piñata, to decorate a tree in their front yard. Allison Markley says neighborhood families were drawing and writing positive messages on their sidewalks, but they do not have one.

“I was trying to think of fun ways that we could give people driving or walking by a smile without interacting with them and practicing social distancing,” says Allison Markley.

Now, the Markleys have challenged eight other families in their neighborhood to decorate their own trees to spread happiness and positivity in a time of fear and uncertainty. The Markleys encourage families to stay at home and practice social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but they also say it’s important to stay positive and try to have fun.

“We have a sign on our tree that says ‘you are not alone,’ so we want to remind families that they’re not alone in this, even though they’re stuck at home and may feel like it,” says Allison Markley.

Emily Hawk can be reached at ehawk@pellachronicle.com or by calling the newsroom at 641-628-3882.

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