YORK — A new hashtag is circulating social media, the virtual cue inspiring a special signal of love and unity – despite social distancing.

Heart-themed storefronts and homes around the world have been sharing the #aworldofhearts message, described on the movement’s Facebook page as being created “to follow the world vision of filling windows with hearts. By filling your windows with hearts your neighbors and those passing by will know we are in this together.”

Several displays have popped up in the York, starting with Nebraska Medical Mart. Crystal Schutte, office manager and marketing for Nebraska Medical Mart, originally saw it as a way to reach out to customers. “I can’t go out and market right now, so I was thinking of ways I could,” she said. Once Schutte learned more about #aworldofhearts, her goals shifted. “I thought it was really cool to see everyone inspiring everyone else,” she said.

The Nebraska Medical Mart window display uses handprints to symbolize helping hands. The vibrant storefront is inspiring other businesses – especially after Schutte and her coworkers challenged the York business community.

York Chamber of Commerce not only promoted the challenge, but got in on it with a window display of their own. “While working on our window, it gave us some time to laugh and have fun,” said Madonna Mogul, York Chamber of Commerce Executive Director. “It’s a great challenge.”

As #aworldofhearts windows pop up in York, area residents and businesses outside of York are getting involved, too. Terri Volkmer of Exeter created a “He’s got the whole world in his heart” theme, utilizing hearts made from vintage maps, and an outdoor globe centerpiece.

“Since I’ve been home my brain has been going nonstop with ideas,” Volkmer said.

Volkmer’s late husband was a trucker, and she couldn’t part with his old atlases. Inspired by the #aworldofhearts group, she came up with the idea to use the maps for her display. “Everything I was doubtful about worked,” she said. “I just used what I had, since I had to stay home.”

Heather Richardson and her daughter Addy also made a display at their home. “Addy and I were just looking through all of the photos on Sunday evening that everyone else had posted. I asked her that night if she wanted to make a window display – knowing that she would,” Richardson said. “On Monday morning she already had an image in her head.”

The window has been a hit. “She has gotten such great feedback from all over the world, and she says it makes her feel good to be able to make people everywhere feel happy,” Richardson said.

Schutte said seeing the creative, beautiful displays has made her happy, too, the true meaning being the heart inside. “It’s amazing that from the simplest little heart people are making masterpieces,” she said. “It brings us together during a not-so-great time. For me it brings simple joy.”

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