Helping America's most vulnerable.

Bella Bunnies to make a special Easter

Lots of people help the needy on Christmas and Thanksgiving with gifts and meals.
But not everyone thinks about that on Easter.

Sixth-grader Bella Knaub thinks it’s the perfect occasion for that kind of caring. On Saturday, she’ll take Easter baskets to the children living at the Volunteers of America Family Shelter in downtown Reno as a way to spread the cheer of the Christian day of rejoicing.

The items that will go into the baskets, such as candy, pencils and toothbrushes, came from donations made by students, teachers, other individuals and businesses. Bella hopes to fill 55 baskets for her Bella Bunnies project.

"This is the first year," the 11-year-old said. "Last year I thought about it. There are children who do not have as much as we do… Since I love Easter, I thought we could spread the cheer."
Bella’s school, Hunsberger Elementary, set up three collection boxes for donations, she said.
Raising donations took about six weeks, Bella said.

"My school was very helpful," she said. "I couldn’t have done it without my friends… My mom and dad brought in flyers where they work. They all have been very helpful to me."

Bella’s father, David, owns a construction company and Tile Alliance, a company he works with, donated items such as cellophane, candy and eggs, Jackie Knaub, Bella’s mother, said.

“And I work at Veteran’s (Memorial) Elementary School, but most of the help came from Hunsberger,” she said.
The shelter housed 48 children last week, but Bella plans to make 55 baskets in case more children are living there by Saturday.

“ We might have enough stuffed animals,” she said, “but we might need more tooth brushes.”
Bella and 10 or 12 friends will make up the baskets on Friday night and take them to the downtown shelter on Saturday.

"I don't think we realized it, but it will be fun," Jackie Knaub said.The family plans to make the Easter basket project a yearly event, she said.

The Easter baskets can let children living in the shelter that the community cares for them, said Sandy Isham, development and community relations officer for Volounteers of America in Reno. "I'm the fundraiser and I see there is so much love out there trying to connect people," she said.