“Excuse me,” said the young man, standing awkwardly at the open church door. “I’m here to pick up an Easter basket for my daughter. Am I in the right place?”
“Well, we have baskets, but they’re not Easter baskets for kids; they’re food baskets,” I explained.
That morning I had arrived early at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church here in Carmichael, California, to help distribute the baskets to needy families for Easter. To make sure everyone was taken care of, we had handed out numbers to the recipients that matched the basket they were supposed to receive. Each one contained a full Easter dinner—a whole ham, potatoes, bread, vegetables and a pie—plus enough staples to help feed a family for a week.
“Why don’t you come in?” I offered the man.
He looked disappointed. He shook his head, and peered over his shoulder. “I can’t…my daughter is waiting for me in the car,” he said. He gave her a little wave and turned back toward me. “I’m grateful for the food, but when I heard you were giving away baskets for Easter…well, I thought they would be Easter baskets for children,” he continued. “I promised my daughter one.” He glanced over his shoulder again. “I left her in the car because I wanted to surprise her.”
I felt bad, but there was nothing we could do. Our volunteers had put together food baskets, not Easter ones. We didn’t have the means to make up anything else. The man handed me his number, and I walked over to where the baskets were waiting for pick up.
A bulge in one of the baskets caught my eye. What is that? I wondered. Leaning in and looking more closely, I could see, unmistakably, an Easter basket—filled with an assortment of candy and Easter eggs—wrapped with ribbons and tucked inside with the food.
One of the volunteers must have added it by mistake! I thought. Then I looked at the man’s number in my hand. Well, I’ll be…
“Happy Easter,” I said to the man, handing him the only food basket with an Easter basket inside—the very same basket with his number on it. “Someone knew just what you needed.”
Someone sure did.