As the world battles against the coronavirus, humanity is still sharing hope this Easter season. With egg hunts cancelled and large family gatherings postponed, people are finding new ways to celebrate this year, from delivering flowers to their neighbors to surprising children with visits from a social-distancing Easter Bunny. In their efforts, they reveal a piece of the true Easter story – that of God’s unconditional love.
Here are five stories of the kindness that others are exemplifying worldwide this Easter, as reported by local and national media:
1. Pennsylvania Homeless Shelter Offers To-Go Easter Dinners
Bethesda Mission in Harrisburg hosts a sit-down dinner for the city’s homeless every Easter. When the shelter realized it couldn’t continue its tradition due to the coronavirus and social distancing rules, it decided to adapt. This year, the shelter will offer boxed dinners instead, a local Fox affiliate reported on April 7.
In addition to the Easter meal, the shelter has been offering daily breakfasts to those in need during the pandemic, thanks to generous donors.
“Easter should be a joyous time,” the shelter’s executive director, Scott Dunwoody, urged. “We are celebrating the resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ!”
2. Canadian Greenhouse Gifts 10,000 Easter Flowers to Local Residents
In the midst of the current crisis, the owners of Ravensbergen Greenhouses in Ontario made the decision to give away their extra flowers and plants – all 10,000 of them.
"(We) couldn't operate as a normal store, (there was) no place for our product anymore and we felt we had to get these plants into homes, otherwise they would be thrown into a compost pile," general manager William Ravensbergen said, according to CBC on April 7.
Local residents flocked to the greenhouse’s Facebook page to express their gratitude for the unexpected gift.
“Thank you for your thoughtfulness and for the reminder,” one woman wrote. “My husband and I have a family business that’s non operational at the moment as well.”
In her post, she shared a photo of the note that accompanied the flowers.
“This virus has isolated us socially for a time but we know God is in control of this too,” the Ravensbergen family wrote. “We have plants that currently don’t have a home and we would like to spread some cheer to you and your family. The message of hope in this time is the message of Good Friday and Easter, which is written down for us in John 3:16-18.”
A local company sponsored half of the donation while the Ravensbergen family gave the other half. Volunteers from local churches made the deliveries.
3. British City Leaves Easter Eggs for Waste-Removal Crews
The Exeter City Council recently recognized its residents for supporting their local waste crews by leaving them thank-you notes, clapping during trash collection, and sending encouraging messages on social media.
On April 9, EastDevonNews.co.uk reported that residents have also left the crews small gifts in the form of Easter eggs.
“It’s really making a difference during this extremely challenging period for them,” an Exeter City Council spokesperson said of the crews.
4. Connecticut Military Children Receive Easter Candy
Children of the Connecticut National Guard recently received bags of Easter candy, donated by Munson’s Chocolates. As the families’ cars lined up to accept their special packages, little ones waved hello to an Easter Bunny as well as “military volunteer reserve and other servicemen and women among those deployed throughout the state to help with lifesaving efforts as coronavirus cases spread,” Middletown Press journalist Cassandra Day reported on April 9.
Gen. Gerald E. McDonald Jr., assistant adjutant general of the Connecticut Air National Guard, explained, “This is a small way for us to demonstrate our appreciation because they are without their military [family] members for an extended period of time.”
5. Easter Bunny Surprises Children in Staten Island
The motto at Lucy’s Costume Characters in Staten Island right now is “If you can’t visit the Easter Bunny, we’ll bring the Easter Bunny to you,” reported Staten Island Advance on April 9.
To sign up for a visit, residents just need to call a listed phone number.
“I wanted to reach as many kids as possible and have them experience time with the Easter Bunny,” the owner, Christine Diana, stressed. With the help of employees who wanted to pitch in, the Easter Bunny has already visited hundreds of homes.
While keeping a six-foot social distance, the Easter Bunny will chat with children and even pose for a photo.
One 8 year old commented, “I look forward to seeing the Easter Bunny every year, but because of the virus, we wouldn’t be able to see him this year. I’m so happy he came to our house and brightened my day.” His 6-year-old brother chimed in, “I love seeing the Easter Bunny because I miss my family and he made Easter a little better. He made me happy.”