March 14, 2012 - Easter is sort of the forgotten holiday when it comes to charitable giving.
Everybody wants to make sure those in need have plenty to eat for their Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, plus lots of clothes and toys under the tree.
But there never seems to be any large charitable drives for Easter – until now.
Oxford-Orion FISH wants to make sure everyone's Easter is a happy one. That's why for the first time ever, the group is collecting food and other items for the upcoming holiday.
"Everybody does Christmas. We decided to do Easter this year," said Sandy Klersy, pantry coordinator for FISH. "I think the families need it because it brings them together. It's another reason for them all to sit down, eat together and be together. When I was growing up, Easter was the next big holiday for us. I got a brand new Sunday dress, brand new shoes and an Easter basket."
From now until Friday, March 30, FISH is collecting the following items – pancake mix and syrup; macaroni and cheese; mashed and/or scalloped potatoes; Jell-O pudding or gelatin; gravy; fruits such as pineapple, peaches and apple sauce; cake mix; frosting; dinner roll mix; margarine or butter; Easter candy, baskets and grass; Easter egg coloring kits; and gifts to go in Easter baskets.
Donors can drop off their food and/or Easter basket items at FISH's pantry (487 First St.) in the unincorporated community of Thomas, which is east of M-24 in northern Oxford Township.
The goal is to provide food bags and Easter baskets for as many FISH clients as possible. Right now, Klersy indicated 168 families have signed up for this distribution. The deadline to register is Friday, March 16.
"They're going to get a fresh ham, not a frozen one, and all the side dishes to go with it – potatoes, veggies, rolls and fruit," she said. "We'll make sure they get Easter baskets, too, if they want them."
A donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, has agreed to purchase every last ham for FISH to distribute.
"He's the same one who buys all the Thanksgiving gift certificates (for turkeys) for our clients," Klersy said.
This type of generosity isn't just limited to one person.
Lake Orion's Knights of Columbus group has agreed to provide food bags for 30 of FISH's regular clients, plus 12 senior citizens.
PKSA Karate in Oxford donated $500 to the Easter drive.
"I wasn't expecting $500," Klersy said. "I was expecting $100 or $200. He handed me the envelope and there it was."
Quest Diagnostics in Lake Orion will provide as many Easter baskets filled with candy, games and toys as possible.
Although FISH didn't conduct an Easter food drive last year, Quest Diagnostics did donate 156 baskets to the group for distribution to its clients.
Whatever isn't covered by Quest Diagnostics this year will be covered by FISH. "We're trying to make sure that every kid who wants a basket has one," Klersy said.
The food bags and Easter baskets will be distributed on Saturday, April 7.
For more information about FISH, please call (248) 628-3933 or (248) 628-5352. Or visit www.oxfordorionfish.org.
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.