Bringing Easter joy to kids in need

By on March 13, 2019

Lititz Community Easter Basket Project providing toys, books, candy and more for some 100 local children 

Even though Easter is still weeks away, the Easter Bunny is already hard at work.

This particular Easter Bunny doesn’t have long floppy ears or a cotton tail. This Easter Bunny just happens to be Babs DiFrank, a Lititz resident who remembers all the joyous Easters she celebrated with her family as a child.

Through her work as an educational toy representative, DiFrank became aware that there were many children in the Lititz area who might not get to have Easter baskets filled with toys, puzzles, books and treats. That’s when she had an idea.

“I wanted to put together Easter baskets for children in need, so they would get to enjoy the kind of fun I remember as a child,” says DiFrank.

So, DiFrank started the Lititz Community Easter Basket Project and got focused on gathering baskets, toys, books, candy and other goodies to fill Easter baskets for some 100 children in the area. She was already aware of Peter’s Porch at Lititz Mennonite Church and Lititz Head Start program for preschool children. So she contacted them to see if they would be interested in distributing the Easter baskets to children in their programs.

They were pleased with the offer. Working with chaplain Michelle Deibler, DiFrank was able to partner with St. Paul E.C. Church to coordinate the project. The next step was to get the community involved.

“We set up a Facebook page and started checking with local businesses and individuals to get donations for the Easter baskets. I still can’t believe the response I am getting,” says DiFrank.
Among her first stops for donations were Clair Companies, Tiger’s Eye and Heavenly Soaps and Scents. They all made significant donations to the cause, both financial and items for the baskets. Since then, the generosity of the Warwick community has been overwhelming. Donations of money and gift items have poured in from Grandview United Methodist Church, Cleona Dental donating toothbrushes, Giant in Lititz, J. Cornack Therapy Group, and many more.

Babs DiFrank fills Easter baskets with help from her granddaughter Isla. Photo by Laura Knowles. 

Isaac’s Restaurant and Deli at 4 Trolley Run Road has agreed to collect items for the baskets at their Lititz location. They will be collecting new non-perishable items like books, baby wipes, socks, baby lotion, pony tail holders, brushes, baby shampoo, soaps and other small items that would fit in an Easter basket.

“I wanted thank Heather Walmer, General Manager of Isaac’s, for her commitment to helping the community. Isaac’s will have a collection box inside the restaurant,” says DiFrank.

Then the Easter Bunny got an extra special surprise when Lititz Trinity Church in East Orange Street agreed to donate their famous homemade chocolate Easter eggs to the baskets, thanks to help from Cathy Gelatka.

DiFrank will be providing small educational toys from Discovery Toys at cost, noting that no profit will be made on any items. The idea is to have Easter baskets filled with high-quality items that the children ages 12 and under can enjoy long after Easter. (Except for those chocolate eggs that might not last long.) Most contributors are giving around $30, but all donations are welcome. DiFrank already has enough to fill nearly 50 baskets, and her goal is to reach 100. She started the Facebook page at facebook.com/lititzcommunityeasterbasketproject, so she can keep followers updated on donations and credit everyone who is helping with the project.

“The Lititz community is such a generous and caring community,” says DiFrank. “I want to thank everyone for helping to make the Lititz Community Easter Basket Project a success and putting smiles on 100 children’s faces,” says DiFrank.

Anyone who is interested in donating to the Lititz Community Easter Basket Project should contact Babs DiFrank at 717-572-5446 or via Facebook. Checks should be made payable to St Paul’s EC Church/Easter Basket Project and mailed to 2120 Main Street, Lititz, PA 17543.

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