A couple of delighted kids squealed as they chased a ball across the lawn at Trinity United Methodist Church Thursday morning, their mother keeping careful watch as she waited in a line that snaked around the block.
Hundreds of mothers, fathers and grandmothers waited patiently for the annual Tom Carey Easter Basket Workshop to start at 10 a.m.
One person had been waiting at the church doors since 7:30 a.m. to ensure her children got baskets filled with goodies on Easter morning.
I watched for an hour as adults and sometimes tiny tots carefully chose stuffed animals, books, puzzles and treats to fill their Easter baskets. Everything they took was free, including the Easter baskets or buckets and Easter grass.
By 11 a.m., families had filled baskets for nearly 700 children.
The crowd died down and a young mother and her two children were among the few left. Her 15-month-old daughter plucked a stuffed panda from the table for her Easter basket. The mother filled a second basket for her 1-month-old son.
It was the mother’s first time at the workshop, but it was a blessing she needed. She wanted to make her son’s first Easter special.
“This helps a lot,” she said, of the workshop. “It’s hard with money right now with two little ones.”
Reporters often spend their lives watching from the sidelines as these stories unfold. Not Tom Carey, though. After years of reporting on good news for the Kokomo Tribune, he decided to make some good news of his own.
He donated a bunch of Easter baskets and treats to Kokomo Urban Outreach in 2006. One mother broke down in tears when she received some for her children.
Kokomo Urban Outreach Director Jeff Newton said he didn’t even know there was a need at that time. The organization offered free gifts to struggling families around Christmas, but nothing around Easter.