Non-Profit Spotlight: Alleluia Baskets
This time of year is full of the giving spirit. People generously give to spread the magic of Christmas to children in difficult situations. But, have you ever wondered what happened to those kids on the other widely celebrated holidays?
That is the focus of this month’s non-profit spotlight. Recognizing that many children in need are taken care of at Christmas, founder and CEO, Karen Mesler, started Alleluia Baskets to spread that same love and generosity on Easter.
Fourteen years ago, with a mission to give a reason to smile to children who are in difficult situations and who would otherwise not receive Easter baskets, twelve students and volunteers gathered in a school-room and filled twenty-five Easter baskets. Those baskets were donated to an organization that distributed them to children in shelters or other unfortunate situations.
After that first year, it was evident that Alleluia Baskets was meeting a significant need in the community and beyond. Now Alleluia Baskets provides Easter baskets to thirty-nine different organizations throughout St. Louis, St. Charles city and county, Springfield, and Independence, MO, and proves to be an organization without borders by providing Easter baskets for children in the Philippines and Guatemala.
Alleluia Baskets has used the giving of Easter Baskets to bring smiles to 15,235 children’s faces in the last fourteen years!
Alleluia Baskets has not only shown love to the children who have received a basket but has also built a community where individuals and groups can give selflessly through service. Those twelve original volunteers have now multiplied to a volunteer base of 700 people ranging in age from five years old to eighty years old.
Alleluia Baskets works closely with individual recipients and organizations to ensure the baskets themselves are personalized with the intended recipient in mind. The recipients range from infants to teens, and each basket has ten age-appropriate items that will be meaningful to the recipient.
As Alleluia Baskets has expanded its outreach over the years, a school room is no longer a sufficient place to fill the Easter baskets successfully. Each year, Alleluia Baskets searches for a donated, temporary space that is approximately 2000 sqft. to store and construct the Easter Baskets from January until two weeks before Easter. Founder and CEO, Karen Mesler says that the best gift would be to obtain a permanent location that would be able to house all the items donated throughout the year and provide a consistent place for volunteers to come to assemble the baskets.
These Easter Baskets are made possible through monetary gifts or grants from corporations to purpose product and the donations of actual items. Alleluia Baskets is always in need of coloring and puzzle books, baby toys, storybooks for all ages, markers, mechanical pencils, nail polish, and frisbees. All these items help give the gift of love and bring a smile to the faces of hundreds of children.
As you consider giving this holiday season, keep Alleluia Baskets, and the children this non-profit serves, in mind. Your donation–no matter how large or small–can have a profound impact on the life of children in less fortunate situations. A smile on a child’s face is priceless, and, through your generosity, you can be part of the reason for that smile.