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Hundreds of Easter Baskets created for local youth in child protective services

Two Mid-County women helped lead an effort to create more than 300 Easter Baskets to deliver to children in child protective services throughout Jefferson and Orange counties.

Sabrina Pond, left, made customized Easter Baskets to send to children in Child Protective Services. Shari Pulliam, right, collected the baskets Tuesday.

Sabrina Pond of Groves has been part of the Easter Basket program since 2012.

She started off contributing 46 generic bags. This year she completed 270 personalized baskets for boys and girls of all ages.

“I don’t want (the kids) to feel secondhand,” Pond said. “I hate that. Their lives are hard, and I just don’t want them to feel like they are getting the secondhand, leftover items. I want them to feel like someone made this basket just for them. I want them to feel some magic.”

This year, more than ever, Pond said it is important to go above and beyond.

“I felt like they were going to be forgotten,” she said. “Everything has been left and forgotten about right now. I didn’t want these kids to feel that, too.”

Vickie Rabalais carries out a bundle of Easter Baskets.

Port Neches resident Glenda Little made 67 baskets for the first time this year with donations from friends, families and neighbors.

Little has worked alongside Shari Pulliam, media specialist for Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, for years.

“When I saw (Pulliam’s) Facebook post and she had lost a big donor, I knew that I wanted to help,” Little said. “Right now, there isn’t a whole lot we can do because we can’t get out as much. I’ve always wanted to help the CPS kids and those in adult services. So it didn’t matter whether the coronavirus was here or not, I still wanted to do it for the kids of this county.”

Little said some friends donated money, and others sent gifts for the baskets.

Longtime friend Vickie Rabalais even came over to help pull it all together.

“It was an effort across the board,” she said. “It wasn’t just one person by any means. It just makes us feel good to give. It’s for kids who are underprivileged and unfortunate. You feel for them right now, and kids touch everyone’s hearts.”

Pulliam said the Easter Basket program started more than 15 years ago.

This year, due to the spread and financial hardships associated with COVID-19, a handful of donors weren’t able to contribute their usual resources.

“There was big void that needed to be filled,” she said. “So I went on Facebook to make a post and people started messaging me wanting to know how to help. Now, I’m going to end up with 332 baskets. That’s a great feat.”

Pulliam has been working for child protective services for 20 years covering counties from Jefferson to Bowie.

She said Southeast Texas is one of the most generous communities she works for.

“We’re really excited and really thankful,” Pulliam said. “This will help bring some joy into children’s lives. That’s something that a lot of kids might need right now.”

Other donors who contributed to the program include Dr. Barry and Laura Miller, Judge Randy Shelton and family, Beaumont Community Partners, Pucci Chateau and friends, Valero and the Rainbow Room.

Pulliam extends her thanks to all partners.

CPS is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you believe a child is being abused or neglected, call the hotline at 1-800-252-5400.

(Editor’s note: Do you know someone in the community doing something extra to help out in response to COVID-19? Send an email tip to panews@panews.com so we can get that person or organization recognized.)