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    Posted April 20, 2011 by
    Wausau, Wisconsin
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Volunteer 11 hours in 2011

    More from WausauFamily

    500 Easter Baskets of Goodwill: Bunny Hop 2011


    Trista and Nick Dolphin knew in their hearts, they wanted to give something back to the community after a difficult family experience. Five years ago, their son, Jonny, checked into the world at just 1 pound 9.6 ounces. It was three long months before he was able to leave St. Josephs Hospital in Marshfield, Wisc, and come home.


    The care and concern the family received from complete strangers, moved them, and left the family wanting to give back in some way. Trista had a vision of making Easter baskets and delivering them to local hospitals. She named the project The Bunny Hop.


    "Everybody does Christmas and Thanksgiving and everybody kind of forgets Easter," she shared. The family went out and bought supplies for creating 100 Easter baskets. Stuffed them with toys, books, and delivered them locally.


    The following year they did it again, expanding to include homeless centers and shelter homes. They gave away 300 baskets the second year. She shared that there was always a surprised child on the receiving end. The smiles they were greeted with made all the effort worth it. Some were given away to children in waiting rooms while a loved one was in surgery. Baskets contained small toys, crayons, stuffed animals, and of course candy eggs. The March of Dimes donated hundreds of glow in the dark night lights. Volunteers knitted over a hundred hats for newborn infants.


    This year Trista’s goal was to go bigger. Students and teachers at Riverview Elementary School jumped aboard and made get-well cards and collected candy. AbbyBank locations came through in big ways. Hospitals in Milwaukee and Green Bay have been added to the delivery route. They hope to make 500 baskets. Trista said none of this would’ve been possible without the extra help within the community.


    On Saturday volunteers of all ages helped in putting the baskets together. Things were laid out like an assembly line, laugher was in the air. People knew their time made a difference. Complete strangers meeting and becoming friends. The get-well cards kids made were touching. Kids writing letters to other kids, giving them hope and Easter greetings.


    Sometimes, after going through difficult periods, people feel the need to give back to others in some fashion. First, they sense the need with a vision, and then take one small step forward. That one step often leads to a lifelong journey. Trista wants to reach out to every hospital in the state, and eventually in the nation. Last December, she was recipient of a local Jefferson Award which honors "Unsung Heroes" - ordinary individuals who are performing extraordinary deeds.


    This year, extra baskets will be given away to children attending a free Easter dinner at the Mine Co. The restaurant is providing dinner for those in need or are alone on Easter. A shout-out to them for helping less fortunate in our community enjoy this special day.


    When first hearing of their story we thought of sharing it with CNN iReports this Easter season. We left the basket filling party happy to have helped. They are a very nice and humble family. When they talked about the project their eyes light-up with excitement.


    Thank you for viewing and wishing everyone a safe and joyful Easter.

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