The West Feliciana Parish Sheriff's Office and surrounding law enforcement agencies recently received colorful, hand-painted stars via the Stars of HOPE organization, a disaster relief and community arts program that empowers children of all ages to transform communities impacted by natural and man-made disasters through colorful art and messages of hope and healing.

Following the recent floods, Sheriff's Office spokesperson Erin Foster said personnel began hanging the colorful stars in flood-affected neighborhoods throughout West Feliciana.

The stars were crafted by victims of Hurricane Sandy as part of their healing process, she said.

According to starsofhopeusa.org, the organization has motivated about 40,000 volunteers, including school children, families, seniors, first responders, veterans, active military, partner organizations and entire communities to paint inspirational words, messages and designs on 1-foot wooden stars.

Volunteer groups then travel to disaster sites — both in the immediate and long-term aftermaths — to uplift families and entire communities by hanging the stars in public places, which serve as beacons of hope and compassion.

Stars of HOPE began in 2007 by two families who wanted to "pay it forward" for the love and support they received following their own personal tragedies.

In 2015, several stars were placed at the site of the theater shooting in Lafayette.

The Stars of HOPE can be seen hanging from road signs and on street corners around West Feliciana.

To learn more about the organization, visit starsofhopeusa.org or facebook.com/starsofhopeusa/