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'Spreading joy' during COVID-19: Sisterhood of the Traveling Wine

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PERRYVILLE — Human beings are not meant to be alone. We are, by nature, social animals. This period of isolation is hard.

Enter The Sisterhood of the Traveling Wine. It’s a place for women to connect and be kind and giving to one another.

Gov. Larry Hogan issued the executive order March 30 requiring all non-essential employment and travel to cease in an effort to staunch the flow of COVID-19.

Elizabeth Holmes is a professor at Harford Community College but like many she is working from home to avoid spreading or contracting the novel coronavirus. Also like many others she is craving social interaction beyond the four walls of her Perryville house. That’s why she started a Cecil County version of the national sisterhood movement.

“I saw it start in Harford County and I thought, Cecil County needs wine too,” she said Monday. In eight days the Facebook page was launched and has collected more than 7,100 members.

“People are feeling so off balance, unsure, stuck at home,” Holmes said. For some panic is setting in, she said.

Those that join the Facebook page place their address in a secured Google doc on the site, readable only by members. Be a wine fairy, get a visit from a wine fairy, or do both.

“A little bit of giving is good,” Holmes said. “I just wanted to spread joy.”

In that short period Holmes said moods are lifting, as evidenced by the response on the page.

“Some people get dressed up and take huge baskets,” she said. Think of Halloween where you get dressed in costume, but give treats instead of collecting. “Some are taking their kids with them to show how much fun it is to give in secret.”

Holmes said the delivery is basically done with the “ding-dong-ditch method.” Ring the doorbell or knock and then quickly disappear.

“Some wait in the car or in the street, some hide and just watch,” she said.

Liquor stores and wineries in the county have gotten on board offering discounts for fairy deliveries. Dove Valley Winery in Rising Sun sent out fairies dressed like bunches of grapes to make deliveries.

“When you travel you have experiences,” Holmes said. In this time when travel is limited, a simple bottle of wine with a card and maybe a chocolate bar could be just the pick me up for another person. “It’s about what you give, not what you get. The vast majority are more excited about giving.”

Not one to just be a spectator, Holmes has done 15 deliveries so far.

“I wear my wreath of leaves,” she said of her Traveling Wine outfit.

Also, the fervor has spawned traveling sites for men focused on beer, over wine. Also, a group has started for pregnant women, who obviously are not drinking.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Bump! was designed to help gestational women feed their particular cravings. Four days in founder Stacy May has more than 75 members delivering with the same verve.

“It’s been great,” May said. “Women are dropping off snacks and cravings to other pregnant women instead of wine.”

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