E Bunny prepares to hand out Easter baskets to needy children across Las Vegas Valley

It takes a village to raise a child, but it takes only one E Bunny to give thousands of them Easter baskets.

OK, so she has some help … a lot of help.

The E Bunny, aka Barbara Kenig of Summerlin, relies on the generosity of hundreds of residents and companies to see that needy children in Las Vegas get a surprise come Easter morning.

There are people such as Christine Steele who help in multiple ways — organizing, transporting and publicizing the effort.

"But my favorite part is delivering them," Steele said.

Ira Ellis videotapes and photographs the effort for publicity.

About 100 individuals, such as Victor and Eva Pina, help transport baskets.

Nevada State College nursing students organize a basket drive each year. Individuals such as Sue and Charlie Venezia pitch in to repackage any crushed baskets and deliver them to children.

"The basket presentation, it’s huge for the kids," Sue Venezia said. "They’re all wide-eyed and excited. They weren’t expecting anything."

That’s because many of them live in poverty conditions — studio apartments or rundown motel rooms — often sharing that space with another family.

The E Bunny is asking the community to buy Easter baskets from stores such as Target or Walmart — they typically run $7 to $15 — and donate them by Monday, the last date E Bunny can accept baskets .

The economy is having an effect on the all-volunteer effort. Last year’s goal was 5,000 baskets. It gave out just under 3,000.

It’s a lot of work, Kenig said, but well worth it.

"Regardless of your religion, you can give a child a smile and be part of a community that cares for kids," she said.

Opportunity Village helps distribute baskets to the charities that receive them , including Family Promise, Las Vegas Rescue Mission, City Mission of Las Vegas, Nevada Social Services, Clark County Social Services, Lutheran Social Services, Baby’s Bounty, S.A.F.E. House, Heads Up and the Las Vegas Housing Authority. It partners with Straight From the Streets for families living on the streets of Las Vegas.

This year, Easter is April 24. Donors are urged to turn in baskets as soon as possible for distribution reasons.

For a list of drop-off sites, visit communitylink.reviewjournal.com/lvrj/ebunny or contact Kenig at 498-9808 or barbarakenig@aol.com.

Contact Summerlin and Summerlin South View reporter Jan Hogan at jhogan@viewnews.com or 387-2949.

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