By Ofelia Saenz, Staff writer
Justin Rudd, organizer of Operation Easter Basket and founder of the nonprofit organization Community Action Team (CAT), is asking people to put together Easter baskets for needy children in the Long Beach area. The projects goal is to gather 1,250 baskets by noon, Friday, April 6.
Last year Operation Easter Basket was successful in gathering and delivering more than 1,100 baskets. Recipients of the gifts were chosen by the public health nurses at the city of Long Beach health department and other public and private agencies.
Rudd has headed the project through CAT for the past four years. He said since the first year, the outpouring from the community has exceeded his expectations.
“It usually comes down to the wire,” Rudd said. “But inevitably, people come through at the last minute.”
The event’s Web site offers the following as ideas for items to include in a basket: small toys, school supplies, hygiene items, essential clothing and packaged candy (i.e. no loose jelly beans). Each basket should be marked as to whether the gift is intended for a girl or a boy and with an age category. For example, boy, age 2 to 4; girl, age 5 to 9.
Baskets can be taken to one of the following drop-off locations: 325 Bay Shore Avenue, in Belmont Shore; Bungalow Bay, located at 6457 East Pacific Coast Highway in Long Beach; Starling Diner, located at 4114 East Third Street in Long Beach; or Coldwell Banker, attention Erik Bueno, located at 5353 East Second Street in Belmont Shore.
For those who would like to help, but don’t have the time to assemble the baskets themselves, tax-deductible monetary donations can be made payable and mailed to Community Action Team (CAT), 5209 East The Toledo, #1, Long Beach, CA 90803. The funds will be used for CAT to purchase supplies to make and deliver the baskets. Checks should have Easter Basket written in the memo line.
While Rudd continues to raise the bar for his charitable work, he’s confident the community will once again show its concern for the well-being of Long Beach’s under-served children.
“People remember what it felt like as kids to get baskets,” Rudd said. “It makes you smile. It’s a good thing.”
For more information, contact Justin Rudd at JustinRudd@aol.com or visit www.OperationEaster.com.