'Signs of Hope’ kiosks raise over $35K to help support employees of small businesses

Self-serve kiosks offering “Signs of Hope” along the South Shore and Cape Cod have helped raise more than $35,000 in April for people who have lost their jobs because of COVID-19 business closures.

Melanie and Brian O’Neil, the couple behind the Hanover-based decor company, Rustic Marlin, told Boston 25 News that their business was impacted by the stay-at-home advisories and they felt particularly moved to start the Signs of Hope initiative to help employees of small businesses.

“We brainstormed a number of ways that we could potentially help the community and we knew we weren’t set up to make masks or anything of that sort,” said Melanie O’Neil. "We decided to do what we know best, which is make signs.”

With retail stores closed, Brian O’Neil said they set up self-serve kiosks in Hingham, Scituate and other locations on the Cape and South Shore, allowing people to buy signs using the honor system.

“I like to explain it like what a farmer might do to sell his vegetables,” he said of the successful kiosks. “[Profits for donation] just hit over $35,000, so that’s an incredible amount. We’ll see where we’re at over the weekend, but we’ve got a lot of good momentum going.”

The Signs of Hope initiative features messages of hope, love and support for frontline workers. Some of those health care professionals have reached out to express their gratitude for the supportive movement.

“I think the whole initiative,” Melanie O’Neil said, “is so overwhelming: To drive by so many homes and see how many people are supporting health care workers; to see the hearts; to see that people are searching for unity; to come together to do something; and to do good.”

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