The Isaiah 117 House of Coffee-Franklin-Grundy County wants to “spread the love” and raise funds for the organization this month.

Those looking to give the gift of love to friends, families, businesses or organizations in the area can donate just $50 to share their love while helping the organization grow and expand.

According to Coordinator Susan Johnson, the fundraiser has been in the works for several months – since around the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 “We’ve actually been talking about this since when COVID started,” she told said. “We needed to come up with something to spread the love and spread the cheer.”

During a time when people were cooped up in their homes, unable to travel or gather in groups, Johnson said organizers wanted to find a way to bring smiles to people’s faces without risking anyone’s health or safety.

Thus, the fundraiser was born.

According to Johnson, the way to participate in the guerilla love-fest is simple: interested parties visit the Isaiah 117 House website, click through to the links for the fundraiser and donate at least $50 to have the hearts placed in the front yard or grassy areas of whatever business, individual, family or more they would like to nominate.

The volunteers for the group then process the applications and determine when and where to place the little collection of heart signs depending on who is next on the list. The hearts can be placed by anonymous donors, Johnson said, or they can fully announce their participation in the fundraiser. It’s all up to them.

“This is a good way not only to help the children but also to help the community and bring some love and bring some kindness to everyone, since we haven’t been able to go anywhere,” Johnson said.

Usually, the volunteers will move the hearts in the evening or late afternoon, to give the recipients a sweet surprise when they arrive or wake up the next morning.

“The idea is they go at night and place the hearts, and then they wake up to some love and cheer,” Johnson said.

The organization has two different sets of the hearts, which range in size to create their own field of love, so two businesses or families can have the hearts on display for a day.

Then, usually 24 or so hours later, the hearts are moved to their next recipient.

Johnson said the group is doing well with the two sets of hearts for now, though they may purchase more sets should the fundraiser prove popular and the need arises.

Additionally, Johnson said, the organization may extend the fundraiser throughout the rest of the year, should people like it and want to keep it going.

Once the hearts find a new home, volunteers take photos of the spread and post them on social media to show off the love being shared in the community.

So far, the fundraiser has brought the hearts all over Coffee, Franklin and Grundy counties, though Johnson said she’s received requests to place them in areas she hadn’t originally thought about, such as cancer survivors, for friends and neighbors outside of their three-county area and more.

“It’s nice seeing how people are thinking of others in this kind of way,” she told The Herald. “People have nominated people that I didn’t think about when I started this. We’ve got some people that have specified to have them placed on a certain day, like for a birthday.”

And those who wish to participate are not limited to single, $50 transactions, Johnson said. They can sign up and pay for as many “Spread the Love” recipients as they would like. All they need to do is input how many donations they would like to make to spread their love, and the volunteers will work things out.

To participate in the guerilla love-fare, visit isaiah117house.com/spreadthelove and select the organization you wish to support in the fundraiser. The link will then take you to a secure purchase order form. Fill out the required information, and the love you spread will be recorded and added to the list.

Staff Writer

Erin McCullough has won awards for her news reporting, community lifestyles and education reporting in the three years she's been a journalist. She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and currently lives in Tullahoma with her cat, Luna.

Recommended for you