Mom’s goal: collect 7,000 Easter baskets for children in need
Cape resident, mom and teacher Kellie McIntosh wears a T-shirt that says “Easter Bunny Bodyguard” on the front and “Ask Me About Our Basket Drive” on the back. It is her goal to collect and distribute over 7,000 Easter baskets to children in need in Southwest Florida.
“They may be abused, neglected, live in a shelter or just have family financial problems,” she said. She works with five different agencies, including ACT, the Abuse Counseling Treatment Center for Women and Children of Lee County, the Children’s Network of Lee County, shelters and more.
She is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to this beloved clause.
“My goal is 7,000 baskets this year and we will get them.”
She has students and parents from her school, Good Shepherd Lutheran, involved in the drive, for donations, compiling baskets – even having students dress up in a giant bunny suit.
At home, her garage is so full of baskets, she and her husband, Daniel, can’t even pull in their cars. He also helps by providing a drop off spot at his place of employment – Top Notch Carpet Care in Fort Myers.
At school, she has “Easter Bunny Headquarters” – a room already full of over 1,000 baskets, which she separates by the child’s gender and age. “Student Kaylee Ryan is a big help,” she said.
McIntosh accepts full baskets and any part of what can go in one. Then she hunts dollars stores for whatever else she needs, with her entire family helping.
If she isn’t busy enough with being a mother, teacher and head of the PTO, she spends all year on this drive, starting to gather things for the upcoming year.
The drive has grown tremendously in the last four years.
When she first started, she had a goal of 500 baskets.
“We tripled that,” she said. “The next year goal was 1,000 and we got over 2,000, and the last year it was 3,000 and we got 3,652. I was on cloud nine.”
Social workers will go to the school on April 3 to get all the baskets, so any donation will be taken until then.
The drive’s success is the result of donations from the school’s teachers, students, parents and other campus contributers, as well as local businesses.
“We have several drop-off locations, and have added more this year,” she said. “From an article in the Cape Breeze and the North Fort Myers Neighbor, local law firm Goldberg, Goldstein, Cechman, Rice, & Purtz learned about the drive and offered five of their locations, from Port Charlotte, the Cape – even Naples.”
She said a local anonymous donor also read about the drive.
“She’s a grandmother, and said after she read the story she started shopping the day after Easter for all the sales, and has been collecting since. She just dropped off a sizable donation.”
She always throws a party for the school class that collects the most baskets.
“My goal is to get a congressman involved and take this to Tallahassee – go statewide,” she said.
For information, call McIntosh at Good Shepherd Lutheran School at 995-7711.