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ASHEBORO, N.C. — In less than a week, people across the country will be with family and friends to honor a holiday focused on giving thanks.

But there’s a young man in the Piedmont who has been on a mission of expressing gratitude long before November came.

Lucas Hunt, 16, is the founder of the Thank You Jesus Movement — a movement allowing people to express gratefulness by displaying yard signs that read “Thank You Jesus.”

“I could send a message to more people than I could ever talk to in person,” he said.

The Asheboro teen says the idea was initially supposed to be an Easter project.

Previously, he placed yard signs in his neighborhood during Christmas to keep the focus of the season on Jesus.

He was going to do the same for Easter, but when Easter passed, people didn’t remove their signs.

In fact, they were requesting more.

“It was by word-of-mouth mainly, at the beginning that’s all it was, word-of-mouth,” he said.

Initially, the signs were being sold at Hopewell Friends in Asheboro, but the demand grew to where a printing company would be needed to handle orders.

The signs have given people a way to express hope and faith, but more than anything, Hunt says, it has been a way for people to give thanks any time of year.

“It’s an everyday thing. You pull out of your driveway, you pull in, you see it and you think of something you’re thankful for,” he said.

Close to 23,000 signs have been planted, including in areas around the country, something Hunt wasn’t expecting.

However, Hunt doesn’t want the focus to be on how many people have the signs, but a bigger picture.

“If you trust God and you hand something completely over to him and let him control it, let him lead you in it and guide you, and he’ll take it as far as his will goes,” Hunt said.

The signs can be ordered online.

Hunt and others involved in the Thank You Jesus Movement don’t profit from sales of the signs.

The money goes toward printing costs and the Thank You Jesus Mission.

The Thank You Jesus Mission has applied for 501(c)(3) status to support ministry at rural churches in North Carolina.