March 21, 2013

Students seeking donations to fill Easter baskets

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A Southern Illinois University Carbondale student is spearheading a project to make Easter a little brighter for dozens of area children.

The University’s Criminal Justice Association and Social Work Student Alliance are collecting donations to create Easter baskets for children and adults currently in foster care or adoption through Christian Social Services’ Southern Illinois region.  The goal for the “Easter Baskets for the Needy” initiative is to collect enough items to fill 175 holiday baskets.

The collection continues through March 29.  Donation boxes are located at the SIU School of Social Work office in Quigley Hall; the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice office on the fourth floor of Faner Hall, University Village Apartments, and the Newman Catholic Student Center Office, 715 S. Washington St., Carbondale.

Lea Metz, a junior from LaGrange Park majoring in social work, said a similar Easter basket service project involving her high school softball team made a real impact on her so she decided to launch the initiative at SIU.

Metz and her fellow students are collecting books, stuffed animals, candy, toys, coloring books, school supplies and other similar assorted items for the children who range mostly in age from 2 to 13.  The goal is to fill 140 baskets for the foster children. 

In addition, organizers are collecting assorted toiletries including shampoos, lotions, conditioners, soaps, deodorants, feminine care products and the like to fill another 35 baskets to give to adults in the foster care system, including mothers who are placing babies for adoption and foster parents.  Donations should not include razors or mouthwash.

Metz said the students are also seeking donations from area organizations, churches and businesses and they may be placing collection boxes in additional locations as well.  Assembly lines will create and wrap the baskets for distribution in time for Easter. 

She said reaching the goal of creating 175 baskets of cheer seems a bit daunting, especially with the short amount of time available, but she’s confident she and her fellow Salukis, with a lot of help from the campus and community, can accomplish this Easter good deed.

For more information, or to contribute a donation or time to the project, contact Metz at