Women Keep Easter Tradition Going
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
May 7, 2020
ROCKFORD DEANERY—Chairperson Mary Jo Keffer had to take on a couple of extra duties because of the coronavirus, but otherwise the annual Catholic Women’s League Easter Basket Project went on as usual.
 
The CWL has provided the Easter baskets for years, and Keffer has been in charge of the project for the past four.
 
It is a straightforward process. Money is collected during the group’s annual Fat Tuesday Mass and Luncheon the day before Ash Wednesday. 
 
Pastors of the Rockford Deanery parishes are asked for basic information of “four families that might be in need of a nice Easter dinner,” Keffer says, including “how many adults, how many children and the ages of the kids. They are not to give us names ... it is all anonymous. We give a gift card, small gift and candy every year.
 
“The primary purpose of the basket is to give them a gift card — $25 to $200 depending on size of the family.  A couple of the families this year included three adults (one a grandparent) and 10 children, anywhere from ages 1-21. They got a larger gift card.”
 
Each year features a different gift. This year the gift was a white framed print from artist Lisa Frost (see photo), along with little bags of chocolate candies — numbering more or less, depending on how many were in the family.
 
Keffer and her husband, Pete, put the 60+ baskets together and then put 100 miles on their car delivering the baskets to the parishes, which delivered them to the families. Usually those tasks are done by several CWL members, but social distancing prevented that, she says.
 
Not all the parishes were open, so Keffer had “made arrangements to call somebody as we approached the parish, and they came to meet us.”
 
But one other thing remained the same. 
 
“We heard from St. Anthony Parish within three days,” Keffer says, “and also got email from St. Bernadette’s. We usually receive a few thank you notes directly from recipients also.”
 
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