Sprinklngs become popular activity to spread joy

Facebook page promotes sharing of surprise gifts

PRINCETON — Have you been sprinkled? Or have you sprinkled someone else? Sprinkling has quickly become a fun, popular activity around the state during these days of the COVID-19 shelter-in-place order.

It’s like the ding-dong ditch prank, but with positive and uplifting intentions to brighten someone’s day. How it works is people who want to be sprinkled, leave their address on a local sprinkling Facebook page and people who are looking to “sprinkle” someone will come to their house, ring the doorbell and leave a small surprise gift on the doorstep as they rush off before being seen.

Elizabeth Arkels of Princeton last week started the Sprinkling love in Princeton and surrounding areas Facebook page and watched it explode with more than 1,000 members within days.

She said she started it with the expectation that it might attract a couple hundred people, but she never thought it would become as popular as quickly as it did. People from all over Bureau County are taking part in the fun, and it's brightening the days of those who need it most.
"It's really neat to see their stories posted on there about how they're spending their time with their kids doing it," Arkels said. "It's something so little, but people are having a lot of fun with it. ... It's just something to bring a little joy to the madness."

The “sprinkle” gifts come in all shapes and sizes. Everything from candy, snacks, little plants, candles, decorative items for the home, handmade items and much, much more. Some people who have been sprinkled take pictures of what arrived on their doorstep and share them on the Facebook page for others to see what they got.

“It’s shouldn’t be financially burden to anybody whatsoever,” Arkels said. “Some people are going with themes, and some just randomly pick stuff. It can be really anything people want to do.”

Arkels said while people are having fun being surprised, for others it’s more fun putting packages together and sending them on their way, knowing it’s going to make someone’s day.

There’s one caution out there about sprinkles. The Illinois Stalking Advocacy Center this week released a statement reminding people to never share an address of someone else without their permission. A person had shared an address of someone else out of a kind gesture. This someone, however, happened to be a survivor of domestic violence, and this led her abuser to her location, resulting in the need for her to restart her safety process. If people want to be sprinkled, they will leave their address on their own accord.