As the world copes with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton, an RWJBarnabas Health facility, and Shop Hamilton, a community-rooted small business association, have joined forces to bring optimism to the community with the “Hope is in Hamilton” social campaign.

Created to lift the hearts and minds of Hamilton Township residents, the goal of the campaign is to demonstrate how hope can be created through moments of kindness, gratitude and compassion.

The campaign will launch May 1 on RWJUH Hamilton and the Shop Hamilton business’ social media pages with uplifting and inspirational messages of hope paired with the hashtag #HopeIsInHamilton. In addition to the social campaign, lavender ribbons symbolizing hope will be placed around the township.

“The Hope is in Hamilton campaign is an opportunity to use positive experiences and messaging to remind people that Hamilton Township is a community that comes together despite being greatly affected by COVID-19,” said Richard Freeman, president and CEO of RWJUH Hamilton, “We want to shift the conversations going on in the community and the general outlook to be optimistic, positive and hopeful.”

Originally, the Hope Is In Hamilton campaign was scheduled as a community-wide month-long special event to create cancer awareness, with popup events, community gatherings and celebrations throughout the month of May.

Support came from Shop Hamilton members, Hamilton Mayor Jeff Martin, schools superintendent Scott Rocco, local police and fire and community residents who all were committed to turn the town lavender, the color of universal cancers.

Following the COVID-19 crisis, the campaign shifted focus. Despite the large gatherings getting canceled, the word hope became even more powerful. Hope Is In Hamilton was revitalized and reimagined to become a community social media campaign as a way of safely engaging with residents and sharing hope and encouragement throughout the township.

“Shop Hamilton is partnering with RWJUH Hamilton to spread hope by asking everyone in our community to answer, ‘where did you get your hope today?’ Our goal is to show that ‘Hope is in Hamilton,’ is alive, and together we will get through this,” said Joyce Cantalice, chairwoman of Shop Hamilton.

The Hope is in Hamilton initiative aims to be a vital resource for community members looking for hope among all the negative coronavirus news. Hamilton Township community members are encouraged to participate in the campaign by sharing the #HopeIsInHamilton hashtag along with their own photos, videos and social posts on how they find hope every day.

“Each day I become more impressed with all of you: our residents, businesses and township employees of our great town, as we come together, if only virtually, to support one another during COVID-19”, said Martin. “My hope is for a quick resolution to this pandemic as each person does their part in helping us get through this together. You all make me Hamilton Proud and remind me that even in times of struggle, Hope Is In Hamilton. I thank RWJ Hamilton and Shop Hamilton for partnering with the township to show that #HopeIsInHamilton.”

Hamilton residents and community members are asked to share how they “found hope today” with #HopeIsInHamilton. To follow along with the campaign and to spread the message of hope, follow RWJUH Hamilton and RWJBarnabas Health on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube as well as the Shop Hamilton NJ Facebook and Instagram pages.

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton, an RWJBarnabas Health facility, serves communities within a five-county area and includes an acute care hospital, cancer center, affiliated medical group, Lakeview Child Centers and the RWJ Fitness & Wellness Center.

RWJBarnabas Health and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton, in partnership with Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey—the state’s only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center—brings a world class team of researchers and specialists, providing close-to-home access to the latest treatment and clinical trials. For more information go to RWJBH.org/Hamilton.