BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - She saw an ad in the church parish newsletter, The Commentator, that read, "Build a Basket for Needy Children." Since then, Pat Hill has taken the spirit of Easter giving to an entirely new level.
Hill has been making Easter baskets for needy children since that article first appeared four years ago. But each year, she increases the number of baskets she makes.
"Oh, the first year I did 30," she said. "The next year, I did 70. And then, I said, 'I can do more than that.'"
Last year, she made more than 700 Easter baskets in the weeks leading up to Holy Week and Easter weekend.
"I retired from work and I like to do things that are worthwhile. I know how much Easter meant for my kids to get an Easter basket. You can find children everywhere that need help. I can imagine a child receiving a basket on Easter that might not get anything else," she explained.
Other than a few donations she receives throughout the year from individuals who know of her Easter project, Hill purchases all the Easter basket items with her own money.
"Books are one of my favorite this to start with. I have a system. You have to," she said while demonstrating how she assembles the baskets.
Baskets for little girls have pink straw and dolls. Baskets for little boys have blue straw and toys like Hot Wheels. And, of course, they all have books and lots and lots of candy!
The baskets are distributed to needy children throughout our area by St. Vincent de Paul. Debra Blacher is in charge of the Easter basket drive there and surprised Hill with WAFB's Hand It On cash gift.
"On behalf of WAFB and Channel 9 and Hand It On, we want to give you a head start on next year's shopping with this $300 cash gift," Blacher said.
"Oh my gosh! This will buy so many toys, so many baskets. Oh, I can't believe this! Thank you Jesus!" Hill exclaimed.
"I didn't do this to get money to do it. I did it for my children. I love you all, I really do. And this is for the children, all those good little children. You're going to get it back. I promise you," Hill added.
That was Pat's promise to the kids. That's truly love in a basket. That's truly the story of Easter in a basket.
To nominate someone for Hand It On, send an e-mail to HandItOn@wafb.com. Make sure to include your contact information, especially your phone number.