November 29, 2021

Lifting the community’s spirits

Flocking for Hope project adorns Homer with origami cranes

Jamie Costa/staff reporter

Nancy and George DeGilio admire the Homer Green on Saturday, choosing a bench under the Flocking for Hope crane display. The cranes were displayed Saturday as a tribute to community connections lost and gained throughout the pandemic as part of a project organized by Liz Sharp of Homer.

If you find yourself walking through the Homer Green, don’t forget to look up. You’ll see hundreds of origami cranes in different patterns and colors and sizes hanging from netting strewn through trees.

Flocking for Hope, a project created by Liz Sharp of Homer, is a gift from the Homer community to the Homer community, Sharp said. The cranes are all individual; hand-decorated by volunteers.

“They signify how we’ve stayed a community and we wanted to bring something positive to the town amidst all of the negativity,” Sharp said Saturday. “I met with people I haven’t seen in a long time and made new friends through the program.”

The idea for the program was suggested three months ago by a group that Sharp organized, she said.

More than 200 people and 4,000 cranes were hand-folded by kits provided by Sharp’s group.

The waxy, water resistant paper will keep the cranes intact through the windy, rainy spring months.

Sharp mailed kits to her grandchildren in Arizona, Utah, Montana and Maryland for them to fold their own cranes and mail them back, she said. She encouraged grandparents to fold cranes with their grandchildren and other groups to come together to fold.

“People kept coming and going,” Sharp said.

Sharp is no longer accepting cranes for hanging, but she encourages people to make their own to mail as gifts, hang around town or keep them as a reminder of the times.

“I think it’s wonderful,” said Nancy DeGilio, of Syracuse. “It brings it all back to the point that it affects all of us.”

DeGilio and her husband were not aware of the Flocking for Hope program, but noted they did observe the cranes while walking and thought they were pretty, DeGilio said.

The couple sat and admired the cranes, eyeing the different patterns and colors and listening to the deep, rustling tones of their movement in the wind.

DeGilio and her husband discovered Homer last year on a drive through Central New York, she said. They come to Homer to walk down Main Street and sit on the Green whenever they can.