Trucker grandma builds 300 Easter baskets for Charlotte children in need

Trucker grandma builds 300 Easter baskets for Charlotte children in need

On Easter weekend, there is great anticipation for many kids and families. Preparing an Easter breakfast or dinner is usually part of the day's plan.

The coronavirus has complicated things, especially for those people most in need.

However, with challenges come opportunities for the community to unite.

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Renee Brown is a wife, mother, grandmother and former truck driver. She has a huge heart for this city and the children and families who have added adversities.

Over the past week, Brown has joined forces with a team of caring Charlotteans who day in and day out have served thousands of meals to families and children in need.

Volunteers cook free breakfast, lunch and dinner for 1,000s of Charlotte residents to don't have access to healthy meals.
Volunteers cook free breakfast, lunch and dinner for 1,000s of Charlotte residents to don't have access to healthy meals.

“It all started with Charles when he put out a call on Facebook that he needed food,” Brown said. “I think we fed about 1,500 people that week.”

Every day, Charles Robinson and a team of volunteers meet at Northside Baptist Church. They begin early in the morning to get breakfast ready, and then they turn on the ovens to prepare dinner.

With no funding, all this food is donated by caring individuals or businesses who understand the great need to help struggling families.

“With Easter coming up, we thought about the kids, but with everybody being on lockdown, we didn't know where to go, what to do,” Brown said.

Some of the families who are helped by this collaboration don’t have a permanent home and may live in a hotel or motel.

Robinson identified 175 children who live in nearby motels with their families who could use a boost of joy on Easter morning.

“It was like, OK, we all start reaching out to people asking for baskets,” Brown said. “We post on Facebook that this is what we were doing, and people just started sending $5, $10, candy, baskets.”

As we have seen over the past three weeks, the people of our city come through and come through in a big way.

What started as a goal for 175 went to 200. The donations continued to come in and surpassed even Brown’s expectations. The final number was 300.

As difficult as the coronavirus has been, many groups that are partnering together have been focused on the greater good of everyone.

The Easter baskets were unloaded with the same devotion that they were put together, with love and care.

For many, the brightness of the season is tinged with uncertainty because of the coronavirus. In Charlotte, this team is making sure that less fortunate children are served during the COVID-19 crisis.

“It's gonna be excitement because they're gonna see that they're not alone, someone else cares,” Brown said. “That's my purpose, to let them know that someone else cares.”

This is the good that comes from this community.

While one group turns out breakfast, another prepares lunch and the third is working on dinner, the Easter baskets are loaded up and taken to kids in a nearby neighborhood.

The joy on the faces of these children is unmistakable.

Charles Robinson, executive director of Community Hub, finds just the right Easter basket for a special child.
Charles Robinson, executive director of Community Hub, finds just the right Easter basket for a special child.

The next stop for delivery is at a local motel, where over 100 children live while families look for a permanent home.

“That's my purpose, to let them know that someone else cares, regardless of what you're going through. You don't have to go through it by yourself,” Brown said. “We care. There are other people out there who care.”

Though it’s been a turbulent few weeks, Brown is certain that this kind of community heroism will be here after the coronavirus leaves.

“I wish I could see their faces,” she said. “Just the joy that it would bring. You know, Christmas morning, but it’s Easter.”

If you have an inspiring story to share, email Kevin Campbell, WSOC-TV/WAXN-TV/Telemundo Charlotte public affairs manager, at Kevin.Campbell@wsoctv.com.