Easter basket donations

Serving others -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale students Richard Overturf, left, of Benton, and Lea Metz, of La Grange Park, are surrounded by some of the 200 Easter baskets collected and filled for children and adults in the Christian Social Service’s Southern Illinois region foster care/adoption program.  (Photo provided)

April 06, 2013

Student initiative spreads Easter joy to kids, adults

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A recent initiative by SIU Carbondale students and registered student organizations brought 200 Easter baskets to children and adults in the foster care or adoption system through Christian Social Services’ Southern Illinois region. 

Social work majors Lea Metz, a junior from LaGrange Park; Richard Overturf, a junior from Benton, and Lauren Prusa, a senior from Chicago Ridge, spearheaded the initiative late last month. Overturf and Prusa are officers with the Social Work Student Alliance, a registered student organization on campus that played a major role in the project. Metz is community service/volunteer chair of the Criminal Justice Association, another RSO on campus.

Their goal was simple: making Easter happier for local children in the foster care system.

Metz said the project was a smashing success thanks to the generosity of dozens of volunteers and contributors, local businesses, and campus and community organizations.

The goal was to create 175 total baskets for children and adults in the system, but enough contributions came in to enable the dozen volunteers to create 150 baskets for children.  They also made 50 baskets for adults in the system, including foster parents and mothers who are placing babies for adoption.

“The Easter baskets donated to Christian Social Services by the students and groups from SIU and the area assisted us in providing foster children with a sense of normalcy during a turbulent, traumatic time in their young lives.  The faces of many children in the southern 13 counties of Illinois lit up when they received the baskets at a time when confusion and loss was in the forefront of their young minds.  On behalf of those children and families, I would like to thank everyone who generously assisted and donated to such a great cause,” said Michelle Bradley, regional director of Christian Social Services in Carbondale, said.

Metz said the community service project went so well and had such a positive impact that they hope to make the project bigger next year.