More than a thousand volunteers in 14 cities across the United States will join an urban ministry's effort to provide unexpected Easter bag surprises to some 31,000 inner-city kids.
Starting on April 1 and continuing until Easter day, April 12, inner-city churches and local volunteers will help pack and deliver some 31,000 gift-filled Easter bags to children who would likely not have anything to celebrate about this spring.
Many of the children receiving the gifts have never heard of Easter baskets or chocolate bunnies, according to Here's Life Inner City, the ministry organizing the effort.
"This surprising little act of kindness is especially important in today's difficult economy, with more families in more desperate need than ever before," said Ted Gandy, national director of Here's Life Inner City. "We've heard time and again from others that this one bag has helped put smiles on children's faces, restore broken families and give hope to the hopeless."
Each bag is filled with treats like candy, toys, crayons and a full-color activity book - created especially for children of the inner city - filled with stories from the Bible.
Here's Life Inner City ministry shared a true story about a boy named Damien who lived in a crowded house full of stepbrothers and sisters in Central Harlem. His mother was suspicious when a team from a local church came to their home, but when they said they had gifts for her children, she welcomed them in.
Damien, according to the urban ministry, burst into tears when an Easter bag was placed in his hands. It was the first time he had received anything like it.
His mother confessed to the church members that she had been wanting to go to church, but didn't know where to attend. The very next week, Damien's mother brought him and the entire family to Sunday service.
Easter bags will be delivered to children in Atlanta; Bakersfield, Calif.; Chicago; Denver; Detroit; Jacksonville, Fla.; Little Rock, Ark.; Los Angeles; Louisville, Ky.; Milwaukee, Wis.; Minneapolis/St. Paul; New York; Orlando, Fla.; and Seattle.