A local resident who helps make Easter baskets for the Christopher Foundation got a big surprise while on a trip to Arkansas recently.

A local resident who helps make Easter baskets for the Christopher Foundation got a big surprise while on a trip to Arkansas recently.
Darlene Bacon, her sisters, Janey and Kathi and Bacon's sister-in-law, Ruth, were having a "sister day" shopping at some flea markets and antique stores and ran stopped at The Spotted Goat Resale in Rogers, Ark.
"We went in, it is a wonderful little flea market, clean, the people were nice," Bacon said. "We walked over to this booth and noticed all of this Easter stuff, baskets, eggs, grass and and the had it priced 5 for $1. Well, I normally buy my stuff for these Easter baskets after Easter which things are 50-70 percent off, that way that I can do more. I usually get a $1 per basket. So when I saw, 5 for $1, I got really excited and started grabbing baskets."
In the meantime - and unknown to her, Kathi walked over to the owner, Rick (Smithson), and asked him, "would you take an out of state check, because we want to buy a whole bunch of baskets." Kathi told him why they make the baskets.
"Kathi said, 'we make Easter baskets to take to Children's Mercy Hospital (in Kansas City)," Bacon said. "He said to her, 'well what if i just donate the baskets.' She called me over, introduced me to him and he said, 'how many baskets would you like, if I donated them?' My jaw dropped. I said, 'last year, i did 50 baskets.' And he said, 'what if I donated a couple of hundred baskets and the grass to put in them.' I just grabbed him and said, 'bless you, bless you, yes, yes, I will take them.'"
Rick took them into his warehouse and he had huge boxes of baskets and grass. They loaded what they could in their car and then later on, Bacon went back with her husband and a truck to get the rest.
Cathy Cooley, co-organizer of Christopher Foundation - which is named after her late son - heard the news about the donation of the baskets.
"It brought tears to my eyes, I was very touched with that," said Cooley.
Cooley's son had spent time at Children's Mercy Hospital when he he had cancer. Christopher died on Feb. 4, 2001, at the age of 9.
Now comes the task of building the baskets. It is not nothing new for Bacon, she said she has prepared the baskets for a number of years.
"When Cathy (Cooley) started this foundation, and the schools were involved, I worked at South School as a para(professional), we did them and the children," she said. "Then when I retired, I just kept doing it. I wanted my grandchildren to be able to give to others that were less fortunate."
Last year, Bacon prepared 50 baskets for the foundation to take to Children's Mercy Hospital.
"I buy things all year long to put into these baskets. after Easter, I am out hitting every store that I can hit to find bargains. Every basket gets a coloring book, crayons, eggs, a stuffed animal, a reading book and a toy," she said. "These are nice baskets. I am going to make baskets until I am out of filler. I bet you this year I can make 75 baskets."
Bacon said she appreciates the donation of the Easter baskets.
"Making the Easter baskets is something that I am never going to stop as long as I can afford to do it and able to do it," she added.
The foundation will take the donated baskets to Children's Mercy on Thursday, March 29, to hand out to the children there.