The halls of Douglas Care Center were busy with activity, delight and surprise last Friday when some representatives for the Easter Bunny made a stop with deliveries for everyone.

The elderly are often left out or forgotten which was the main reason that employees of the local Family Dollar store came together to ensure that everyone was remembered on Easter.

“I know that a lot of the residents don’t have family visiting on Easter,” First Interstate Inn employee Shelly Rutten said. “If I can help make their day a little better by donating for the Easter baskets, it’s the least I can do.”

For about a month before the spring holiday, the employees got together to think of a way to bring some Easter happiness to the care center residents. With a bucket on each register, the dollar bills and change started filling up.

“Some people didn’t even buy anything, they would come in and just put a $10 or $20 bill in the bucket,” Family Dollar Store Manager Amie Enders said.

In just one month their efforts paid off when they collected the buckets and learned just how much was raised.

“We were so surprised with the generosity of everyone,” Family Dollar employee Bree Shockley said. “My favorite part was asking the community for donations and seeing just how much our customers were willing to help make the care center residents have a wonderful Easter.”

The community of Douglas was generous indeed with just under $1,000 raised. The funds were enough to supply the baskets, candy, treats, fun pens, bouncy chicks, a large candy egg, games and puzzles for 60 Easter baskets.

“I was so shocked,” Douglas Care Center resident Mary Sorg said. “It was a wonderful surprise.”

Last Friday some of the Family Dollar crew made time in their day to bring all 60 baskets to the care center and went from room to room handing out happy Easter wishes along with the baskets.

While the employees at the dollar store came up with the idea, they were encouraged when other businesses chipped in and helped out.

“The girls from First Interstate Inn and Blessed Beans Coffee helped us raise money and put the baskets together,” Enders said.

All the helpers spent a few evenings at Enders home sorting everything, filling the baskets and wrapping them with cellophane and ribbons. At first they were worried about running out of the wrapping material but after a visit to A Fresh Attitude Floral, they had more than enough to finish the projects. Flower store owner Taina DeMinck donated a roll of cellophane to the cause. The wrapping would be completed.

DeMinck donated the cellophane with no hesitation and is always ready to help.

“The Care Center residents are just so special,” DeMinck said.

“It means a lot to help bless our community,” Blessed Beans Coffee owner Jennifer Gregory said. “We enjoy making sure our elderly community feel important and we hope that evens like this let’s them know that they are important and thought about.”

The care center residents were happy with the surprise visitors and the baskets.

“I was very happy and surprised when they came into the room,” Mary Sorg said. “I haven’t opened mine yet but my husband Leo got into his right away.”

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