CHESTER, CT (WFSB) - A tight-knit community in Chester is showing off its solidarity with signs of hope.

Stars are shining bright in the town with a project originally called Light Up the Night.

"The stars really fit for this project of hope in a time when we're isolated and lonely and the whole world is in this together," said Christopher Owens, star man and artist.

"People feel helpless during this time and so to be helpful and to have a visual sign of us coming together is so impactful, it's really wonderful," said Dawn Parker, director of business development, Brian House Inc.

Light Up the Night started in the winter time. It was intended to be a fundraiser for improvements to a mill in town. Now, they're Stars of Hope.

"The Stars of Hope popped up when people refused to turn them off this spring," Owens explained.

The pandemic changed their meaning.

"And that led to people saying 'I didn't buy a star, can I get a star?'" Parker said.

"Dawn and Kerri said 'would you make more?'" Owens explained. "I said, 'sure!' I just never thought it was going to be this many more. That's all I’ve done is live and breathe stars for the last few weeks."

Now, hundreds of stars adorn the town.

"It's amazing," Parker said. "It's really beautiful."

The stars cost $50 each.

Money raised from them goes to food pantries in Chester, Deep River and Essex.

Officials in those towns said the number of families seeking assistance has doubled.

"How long is this going to last is the question," Parker said. "So, when people go back to work and others don't, will people forget the need is there? And how much do we need to be stocked and ready to go?"

The Stars of Hope will continue serving as a guiding light through the unknown.

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