Jenny Mauer, events coordinator, said it all began when a community member dropped off a large amount of candy when a local candy store was going out of business right around Easter. Four years later, the Christian Center is creating complete Easter baskets for children that use their food pantry.
"It is 100 percent donations, so however much we get, that's how many baskets we'll give away," Mauer said. "Last year, we gave away around 300 baskets, and we want to be able to make the same amount, if not more, this year."
The baskets will go to children in Park City as well as to the children of families that go through the food pantry at the new Heber Christian Center. Mauer added that they also serve the Goshute Native American tribe near Wendover, Nev., which is home to about 25 elementary school-aged children. She is hoping they receive enough donations to hand out baskets to those children as well.
Snow Creek Medical Center and the Park City Medical Center are collecting donations as well as local Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops. A local chapter of the National Charity League has also partnered with the Christian Center this year to help assemble the baskets. It is a volunteer group of mothers and daughters, and the local chapter tries to complete a volunteer project with the Christian Center each month.
"They've done different things with us, and when we told them about this event, they were just in love with the idea," Mauer said. "They hold their monthly meetings here in our upstairs room, so before one of their meetings, they are going to make a whole assembly line to put the baskets together."
The Christian Center will be accepting donations in a large, pink bin in the lobby of the center until Saturday, April 5, so the National Charity League members can begin assembling the baskets.
Acceptable donations include wrapped candy, baskets, stuffed animals, crayons, bubbles, small toys, stickers, coloring books, markers and small books. Mauer said the baskets are primarily for children age 12 or younger, so they are accepting "anything a little kid would want" in their Easter baskets.
Starting the week before Easter, the Christian Center will begin handing out the baskets to people who go through their food pantry. There was a "pre-sign up" list last year, but this year, they will be handed out as people come in.
"It is a pretty organic, donation-driven program, which I think is great. We are excited to see how many donations we get," Mauer said. "We have received a lot of donations in the past, so we are looking forward to this year and being able to do a little something for the children in town."