People are decorating their windows with hearts and messages of hope right now

Josephine, 5, and Nora, 2, look out their rainbow heart-filled window in Michigan. Their mother, Jenna Webb, said she wanted to "bring love and joy to essential workers" in their neighborhood.

(CNN)Thousands of people are practicing social distancing worldwide and under stay-at-home orders to stop the spread of coronavirus, but that's not stopping neighbors from leaving messages of hope in the windows of their homes.

It's unclear where or when the effort started, but photos of people putting rainbows, colorful heart cutouts, teddy bears and anything that resembles a sign of hope have been spreading all over social media.
The motivation is simple and varies from neighborhood to neighborhood.
    Some are participating because they want their neighbors who have been deemed "essential workers" to see some joy on their way out of their homes. Others say they decorated their windows so families taking walks and getting fresh air have a nice reminder that everyone is in this together.

    'Spread the love, not the germs'

    Natasha James is the founder of just one of the many growing Facebook groups dedicated to this effort, Hearts in the Window. She told CNN her original intent was to bring people together and make an online community giving families an activity to do while walking in their neighborhoods. She was sent a copy paste message about hearts in windows and after participating she decided to open it up to see what social media would do.
    "Businesses have gotten involved, parents with children in the hospital, doctors, nurses and senior homes," she said.
    James said she wants people to be part of "spreading the love, not the germs."
    James' heart display filled the window at her home in Nanaimo, British Columbia.
    Another Facebook group called A World of Hearts is sharing a similar sentiment. Its founder, Tree Hanafy, told CNN she, too, wanted to share what she was doing to get involved.
    "I think it's definitely helped bring some happiness to people who may be isolated at home all by themselve