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A special Easter story from United Way of Central Alabama
This Easter, Hands on Birmingham (HOB) once again teamed up with local individuals and organizations to provide Easter baskets for deserving children served by local nonprofits, churches and government programs that serve children.
Local community partners donated more than 2,500 Easter baskets this year, a bit increase from the 20 baskets distributed in the program’s first year. REGIONS Bank employees made the largest contribution, donating 1,296 baskets out of an initial goal of 800. HOB decided to use the surplus to help make Easter special for homebound seniors in United Way of Central Alabama’s Meals on Wheels Program. On Thursday, the day before Good Friday, clients received a special surprise along with their usual warm meal.
Bunny Aid is an annual event organized by UWCA’s Hands on Birmingham that, along with individuals and organizations such as churches, schools and local companies donate baskets filled with candy, toys, art supplies and stuffed animals tailored for boys and girls of all age ranges. The baskets were sent out to community nonprofits and governmental organizations such as Greater Birmingham Ministries and the Alabama Department of Human Resources as well as United Way partners such as YWCA, Ronald McDonald House and the Boys and Girls Club.
“Children want to feel like they can be a part of what other children experience, and sometimes their families might not be able to afford to do those things for them, so this helps them feel like they’re not missing out on something,” said Jackie White, the program manager for the jobs program at Alabama’s Department of Human Resources. “I’m so thankful for the collaboration that we have with United Way and the organizations that help my families’ lives better.”
Bunny Aid was started 15 years ago by Angela Stancil, a Hands on Birmingham Junior Board Member. Recognizing the need in the community, Stancil formed the Easter Basket Assembly Team (EBAT) and created 20 Easter baskets for the first year. Since then dozens of volunteers and organizations have joined the effort, but the EBAT is still going strong. This Easter the team assembled more than 500 baskets.
“The fact that there are people in this community from the various companies who take their time and energy and make these baskets is awesome,” said Mary Jones, the co-director for program services at Greater Birmingham Ministries. “Getting Easter baskets is a tradition, children look forward to these things. I’m thankful for all the folks who participate, people who give their time and energy have something in their heart to show for this work.”
Hands on Birmingham, a United Way program, mobilizes volunteers to take action through individual and group service projects in Central Alabama. To learn more about how you can get involved, visit –handsonbirmingham.org