Spreading Easter joy across 8 Mile

Members of St. Basil the Great Parish in Eastpointe and surrounding parishes organize and put together Easter bags to give to children at St. Augustine and
St. Monica Parish in Detroit.

St. Basil in Eastpointe reaches out to St. Augustine and St. Monica in Detroit with Easter bags

Eastpointe —  This Easter, parishioners from St. Basil the Great Parish in Eastpointe are putting together Easter bags full of goodies for children.

It’s a kind gesture to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, a chance to spread joy during a season of renewal.

But what makes Anne Marie Leon and her team of volunteers at St. Basil the Great’s program so special is that the bags are not for children at their parish.  Rather, the bags are heading across town to the children at St. Augustine and St. Monica Parish in Detroit.

Leon brought the program to St. Basil after doing a similar program at the now-closed St. Peter Parish in Harper Woods where the parish gave Easter bags to Holy Trinity Parish in Detroit.

Carol Glander and Phyllis Bianchi organize toys and treats for Easter baskets at St. Basil the Great Parish in Eastpointe.

“This is the third year we’re giving the Easter bags at St. Basil’s, we did it at St. Peter’s, so I brought it up at parish council in January when I came to the parish,” Leon said. “Fr. Tony (Sulkowski) said he’ll put together a committee to start the project. I thought we’d start with 50 bags, so I bought 50 bags, but we saw so much stuff coming in between toys and candy and everything.”

Leon said the parish ended up giving 75 bags that year to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, and last year they gave 100 bags to St. Augustine and St. Monica.

The bags are typically 8- by 10-inches, filled with candy, toys, coloring books, games and chips donated by Better Made along with other Easter goodies.

“My daughter made two empty boxes and put them in the entrance of the church with signs for donations,” Leon said. “People drop them in there. At the end of the weekend, we put them in Father’s room. Every week, people bring donations in, and we do a lot of prep work at home before the weekend.”

With the parish giving another 100 Easter bags this year, parishioners at St. Basil’s feel the program has been a great addition to the parish’s community involvement.

“Anne Marie originally belonged to St. Peter’s and found her way to St. Basil and wanted to carry on the project,” St. Peter parishioner Carol Glander said. “It’s a simple project, but with quite a few bags it requires a lot of teamwork. This is for children in a parish in Detroit city, some of who may not have the privilege to get the things others kids get for Easter.”

Now in its third year of existence, Glander said the project has become a mainstay of St. Basil’s outreach to the greater archdiocesan community.

“We have a parish where people are quite involved,” Glander said. “People here are really generous. The Ushers Club has a breakfast with Santa for the kids. The parish likes the opportunity to help, to reach out to people. I like the idea that this is for a totally different area. We’re a very welcoming parish, which is why Anne and many others come to us from other churches.”