Operation Easter Basket

This is my dear friend April, one of the founders of Operation Easter Basket. Five years ago, she and a couple of friends came up with an idea during a workout – ‘What if we put together some Easter baskets for underprivileged kids in this area?’ They decided to give it a shot.

Their goal that first year was to collect 160 baskets and distribute them to the kids through Long Beach’s social service organizations. In that first year, they collected 500 baskets filled with hygiene items, school supplies, clothing, books, candy and toys.

April’s place is the distribution center, but that could change as Operation Easter Basket grows in the years to come. Her house is a happy sea of cellophane. The Easter bunny will give you a tour.

The baskets are dropped off in her foyer by Girl Scout troops, church groups, schools, businesses, and individuals. Then the baskets are tagged by age group and sex – and placed in practically every room in her house with military precision. As the orders come in from social service agencies, they are batched out in the garage for easy pick-up.

It’s been fun for me to be involved in this mission. Each year, my friend Sue and I put together 20 baskets for whatever group April thinks is being overlooked. The past three years, it was teenage moms. This year, we put together baskets for boys 14 and older, which was right up my alley since that’s the age of my nephews. My shopping cart counted as a core workout last night as it was filled with shampoo, body wash, deodorant, Gator-aid, toothpaste, toothbrushes, socks, peanut butter crackers, cup of noodles, candy, candy, candy, and more candy. A little something to make them feel loved this Sunday.

As of last night, 700 baskets were distributed to different organizations. Another 500 baskets will go out the door today. If you’d like to set up an Operation Easter Basket in your area and wonder what you need to do to get started, please visit www.communityactionteam.org. We’d love to see this idea multiply like … well, bunnies.