Myrna Gardner drops off a completed Easter Basket near several others Saturday inside the Juneau Moose Family Center. The baskets were dropped off with AWARE later in the day. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Myrna Gardner drops off a completed Easter Basket near several others Saturday inside the Juneau Moose Family Center. The baskets were dropped off with AWARE later in the day. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Women of the Moose decide it’s eggs-actly the right time for giving

Volunteers prep Easter baskets for AWARE.

What happens when you cross a moose and a bunny?

Well, if the moose is a member of the Women of the Moose Chapter 439, and the bunny is the Easter Bunny, you get over a dozen Easter baskets for youths sheltered through AWARE, a Juneau-based nonprofit that provides gender-inclusive shelter and support to survivors of domestic or sexual violence.

“We thought that since these kids were in difficult situations… that mothers are probably not thinking about Easter baskets because they’re worried about everything else,” said Myrna Gardner, a trustee for Moose Lodge 700.

Treat-containing plastic Easter eggs await baskets on Saturday, April 8, in the Juneau Moose Family Center. For the third-straight year, the local Women of the Moose chapter, prepped Easter baskets for youths sheltered by AWARE. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Treat-containing plastic Easter eggs await baskets on Saturday, April 8, in the Juneau Moose Family Center. For the third-straight year, the local Women of the Moose chapter, prepped Easter baskets for youths sheltered by AWARE. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Saturday marked the third-straight year the Women of the Moose have prepared baskets for AWARE, Gardner said.

“We love doing this,” she said.

Members raised about $800 to purchase supplies and goodies to create 15 Easter baskets customized for the age and gender of the basket’s recipient. That means things like toys and stickers for younger kids and things like restaurant gift cards for teens.

With classic rock providing an energetic-if-surprising audio backing at the Juneau Moose Family Center, a group of roughly 10 volunteers — including 9-year-old Sadie Kephart, who offered expert perspective on which toys might be appreciated by certain age groups —loaded up baskets with toys and treats before wrapping them with plastic and ribbon and transporting the baskets to AWARE.

Sadie Kephart, 9, looks for a basket with room for Spider-Man decorations Saturday. As the youngest person helping the Women of the Moose pack Easter baskets for youths at AWARE shelters, Kephart frequently weighed in on what treat would be most appreciated by a child of a certain age. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Sadie Kephart, 9, looks for a basket with room for Spider-Man decorations Saturday. As the youngest person helping the Women of the Moose pack Easter baskets for youths at AWARE shelters, Kephart frequently weighed in on what treat would be most appreciated by a child of a certain age. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

“It feels wonderful,” Gardner said. “We receive a lot of positive responses from our lodge members because they love that we’re doing this, and we’ve gotten emails back from AWARE shelter staff saying that families were really overwhelmed and appreciative.”

Mandy O’Neal Cole, executive director for AWARE, said in a message that the generosity is appreciated.

“AWARE is grateful to Myrna Gardner and the Women of the Moose Chapter 439 for gifting AWARE with Easter Baskets for our children this year,” she said. “This has been a tough year; families (and organizations like AWARE) are struggling to afford necessities, let alone the fun treats provided to us by the Women of the Moose. We are so grateful for their thoughtfulness, community spirit, and generosity. “

Cindy Hudson, a longtime Women of the Moose member, holds up an art kit before placing it in an Easter basket Saturday. Hudson was one of several volunteers who stocked up Easter baskets in the Juneau Moose Family Center Saturday. The baskets were dropped off with AWARE, a Juneau-based nonprofit that provides shelter and supportive services to survivors of domestic and sexual violence. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Cindy Hudson, a longtime Women of the Moose member, holds up an art kit before placing it in an Easter basket Saturday. Hudson was one of several volunteers who stocked up Easter baskets in the Juneau Moose Family Center Saturday. The baskets were dropped off with AWARE, a Juneau-based nonprofit that provides shelter and supportive services to survivors of domestic and sexual violence. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

The Easter baskets are just one of many charitable efforts supported by the Moose, said Cindy Hudson, a longtime member and one of the volunteers who helped load up baskets with goodies on Saturday.

“Besides our causes that we raise money for —Mooseheart and Moosehaven —we do stuff like this,” Hudson said. “We give to a ton of charitable organizations.”

Gardner said those looking to find out more information about the Moose could do so through the Moose International website.

Contact Ben Hohenstatt at bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com or (907)308-4895. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.

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