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 Social Justice & Outreach

Easter Basket Project

     - Thank You!

 

Thank you to everyone who contributed to this year's Easter Basket Project. We delivered 95 baskets (tubs) and $4,500 in gift cards to the CAP Agency in Rosemount and 97 baskets (tubs) and $2,000 in gift cards to the Visitation Sisters in North Minneapolis. 

These are amazing numbers...your incredible generosity will make a difference in the lives of many people!
Thank you, also, to all the volunteers who helped load and deliver the baskets, and to Julie Fitzgerald for organizing the project. 

A LETTER FROM SISTER MARY:

April 4, 2017
Thank you for bringing Spring in all its glory to North Minneapolis this past Sunday!  Despite the overcast skies and threatening sprinkles from above, smiles were everywhere as we shared your beautifully and abundantly prepared family Easter baskets with our neighbors.  
I wish you all could have been here to catch the spirit that is alive when Christians reach out to one another.  Grace was palpable as you built, with your gifts, a bridge of love and care.  The "deliverers" brought the entire faith community with them in spirit.
The gift cards to Target, Cub and Walmart are being given to families who did not receive the baskets.  It is fun to have something 'extra' to share at this Easter, the greatest Feast of the Year.
Many of our families on the North-side struggle for the basics of enough food, household items, etc. Imagine the delight to receive paper goods, hygiene items, some extra food, and some fun things for the children! (One dad dug down to the bottom of his basket and said, "Wow!  Toilet paper!")  It is our practice to 'give out' one Cub card and two tokens per month.  This was a windfall for folks!!!

 As all parents, our moms and dads do their very best to provide for their kids, but in these times that is a challenging job.  One of our moms has been sleeping in a car with her kids, one of whom is suffering with anxiety.  Another family is homeless and goes from one relative or friend to another.  Knowing that people CARE about their plight is a gift in itself.
Please know of our grateful prayer and that of our families.  May the Easter mysteries we celebrate bring us all ever closer to Jesus and may the Good News of the Gospel permeate our communities.
Gratefully,
Sister Mary Frances Reis, for the Visitation Sisters and their Friend

 

 

 

CLICK HERE for instructions.


 

To be part of this Ministry, CLICK HERE.

Who does it serve? 

 Two groups: CAPS agency in Rosemount that serves the working poor of Dakota County

Visitation Sisters that live in N Mpls among the poor.  They provide the donations to the neighbors in need as well as coordinate with a couple agencies in N Mpls, such as Turning Point, which is a mens facility to get them off the streets and drugs and provide work skills.  St. Thomas Becket has had  a relationship with the Visitation nuns living in N Mpls for over 15 years.  This project has been going on for 15+ years.

What is an Easter Basket?

It is a large plastic tote filled with basic necessities like laundry detergent, canned and boxed food, toilette paper, cleaning supplies, kitchen towels, sponges, socks and some kid stuff for Easter.  The Sisters give us specific names and ages so they are customized

For the CAPS agency we do generic baskets as well as gift cards to Cub or Walmart

How does it work?

Each Easter we determine the number of baskets we think we can donate and cut out paper eggs and tape them to the walls in the commons.  We make announcements and parishioners take the eggs and create an Easter basket. They apply the egg to the top of the basket when they return it so they are accounted for.

How much is raised?

For 2012, 110 gift cards were donated at a value of $2,750.    About 170 baskets were delivered.  A conservative estimate is that there are $50 of goods in each basket.  Using this estimate, about $8,500 worth of baskets were delivered.  Between baskets and gift cards the total raised in 2012 was approximately $11,250.

 How many people are involved?

We usually have the middle school group cut out the eggs and write on them and hang them.  The volunteer families write the custom eggs so the names are correct.

There are well over a hundred families that take the eggs and donate to this seasonal charity.

We usually have 12 or more people that help load and unload the UHaul at the various drop off spots a few weeks before Easter.  We do this on a Sunday after 11 am mass.  

The Visitation nuns invite the families in the neighborhood that are receiving the baskets to come and participate in a short prayer service with the families of St. Thomas Becket that deliver the baskets. There are usually about 4-8 of us that go.  It is really a unique experience to see who is getting the donations. 

Why get involved?  

This project directly affects people in your own community.  It is a great family service project for families to gather the items for the basket, bring it to church, help sort the baskets, load them into the truck and ideally deliver them.  The best part is when families choose to help deliver them to N Mpls.  The visitation nuns gather all the receiving families into their house for a prayer service with members of our church and all the baskets.  It is very touching for the givers to meet the receivers and very humbling on many levels.


There will be announcements every year starting shortly after Ash Wednesday to encourage people to take an “egg” and there will be requests in the bulletin asking people to help deliver the baskets.  This year it will be Sunday March 10th after 9 am mass.