Chuck ~N~ Jo’s – 2010 Easter Baskets of Love

It’s about that time of year again. Decorated eggs, fun family games and the 2nd largest quantity of candy kids will ever get in one day.   And while there are many parents out there who go all out and spare no expense on Easter baskets for their children during the holiday weekend, there are also kids locally who don’t exactly have equally warm-hearted Easter experiences. That’s where Chuck ‘N’ Jo’s comes in to save the [holi]day!

Last year, Chuck ‘N’ Jo’s donated over 800 baskets to Children’s Hospitals and local non-for-profit groups that help children, like the Maria House and St. Marks. This year marks their 4th year of the Easter Baskets of Love and it is bigger and better than ever before!  They will have over 1200 Easter baskets that will be delivered to kids and senior citizens this Easter.   And they’re distributing the baskets to a greater number of charitable places compared to last year!

We stopped by Chuck ‘N’ Jo’s today to visit Connie Jo (one of the founders of this noble event) to see the baskets and talk with Connie about the event a little more. Looking at a collection of the baskets felt like looking into the future a bit.  There were so many of them and I began to get a mental glimpse of  the happiness that they were going to bring local kids and seniors in just a week’s time.

So Connie, there sure are a LOT of baskets here, how do you go about collecting all of the goods that go into the baskets?
All year long people are bringing in these baskets to help out. They bring in stuffed animals, toys… no candy, though, until it’s getting near Easter time so it won’t spoil.

I hear that you are donating to more retirement homes this year?
We had a lot of requests last year from retirement homes so we decided to reach out a bit more this year. Last year we donated to Stonehill Care Center. This year we are donating to Stone Hill, Luther Manor, Dubuque Nursing and Rehab and Sunnycrest Manor.We are taking 267 of our specialized baskets to the retirement homes. They have lotions, soaps, crackers, little scrubbies and things like that in them.

How many Volunteers do you have this year?
We have 20 this year. Three up from last year.

How far out do you donate?
We cover three county Head Start programs in Iowa and we are doing the East Dubuque Head Start program as well.

How do you deliver these baskets?
We pack them up in a van and take them to the Community Center where they will be distributed.

We could lend you the Runde Community Support Van for this in the future. Its purpose is to help out non-profit organizations and charitable causes, just like this one!
I didn’t know about that! That would be a great!

Everything is donated?
Yes, everything is donated and/or sponsored. Some of our donations are stuffed animals, toys, candy, etc. for the baskets. Other sponsors will give us money then we will go out on shopping missions to get items needed for the baskets as we see fit.

[Connie shared with us a list of over 20 companies and individuals that helped sponsor and donate to Easter Baskets of Love]

When do you start delivering the baskets?
Monday the 29th is our big day. We will be delivering everything then. And one of our helpers, Jenny, will be going to Iowa City give Baskets to the Iowa Children’s Hospital.

How many are going to the children’s hospital?
At least 150 for sure.

How many baskets do you have so far?
Right now we have 1,047 baskets made and on Saturday afternoon we will be making 200 more making it close to 1,250 baskets for the year.

That’s great! Over 400 more from last year!
Yes it is really great, it’s getting bigger every year!

Runde’s would like to thank Chuck ‘N’ Jo’s for their great contribution to the community, it is very exciting and encouraging to have people in the community that are this selfless. They are doing a great deed for these kids and I hope that it will keep growing. From the looks of things, people are starting to become more aware of the program. If you would like to donate to Easter Baskets of Love, you can stop by their location at 890 Iowa St. in Dubuque, IA and ask for Connie.

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