The patients at Children's Hospital Los Angeles are in for an Easter they'll never forget — that is, if 15-year-old Morelia Robles has anything to say about it.
Now in its third year, her organization, Bunnies Who Care, will donate baskets brimming with stuffed bunnies, toys, coloring books, art supplies, and card games to hundreds of children at the hospital.
"For several years my family has been involved in the community, and I wanted to find a way to give back," Robles told A Plus via email. "I was thinking of different ways and after Easter [passed], I realized that some children don't get the same opportunity that I do by getting to spend time with their family and creating good memories."
At age 13, she created Bunnies Who Care, with the mission "to put a smile on their [pediatric patients'] face and to remind them that people are thinking of them." By reaching out to local business and network groups for donations, Robles met someone who encouraged her to start a Facebook page and PayPal account.
"This changed everything by using the power of technology to reach people," Robles explained. "Each year I get more and more people asking about different ways that they could help me make these baskets possible." Her past two years have been runaway successes, raising enough money to provide baskets to more than 200 kids from newborns to teens. Each basket costs about $10 to make and is tailored to its recipient's age, according to Robles.
For newborns: rattles, baby bibs, and clothes. Older children receive coloring books and art supplies, while teens can expect journals and card games. This year, teen girls can also look forward to makeup from Mary Kay, donated by an anonymous individual.
No matter what the children get, they’re always excited and grateful.
While Robles has now handed out hundreds of baskets to grateful individuals, she still remembered her first. "...There was a little girl in a wheelchair that saw me unloading all the baskets, and I could tell that she really wanted one. So I grabbed one and walked over to her and gave it to her," she recalled. "Her face lit up immediately and was extremely happy. It warmed my heart to see her that way."
Going into her third year, Robles goals are to make Bunnies Who Care a non-profit that also empower teens and pre-teens "to feel like they can help make a difference in the world by having them help me with the whole process I do each year." Eventually, she hopes to give baskets to more children's hospitals, "even possibly going national," to benefit as many children as possible. "And if there are any children or teens reading this," she added. "You are never too young to make a difference in the world."