Local families receive help during Easter

Group organizes egg hunt, basket and bike giveaway for those affected by hardships

Tribune Chronicle / Bob Coupland Ta’Kera Dukes, holding her son, Israel Russell, 1, left, receives items and Easter gifts from Marque Allen at the Packard Park shelter house, where a community Easter egg hunt and giveaway for local families facing hardships was held Sunday. Israel Russell’s father, Javaris Russell, died two weeks ago after being shot along Colonial Street in Warren.

WARREN — Wanting to help make Easter special for local families whose loved ones died this year, a group of volunteers organized a community Easter egg hunt and bike and Easter basket giveaway.

Ashley Martin and Marque Allen with Allen Lawn Care LLC were among the local organizers of the Easter Day event held Sunday at the Packard Park shelter house. Twenty-six bikes and 30 Easter baskets were handed out to children and two Easter egg hunts held, with children looking for 3,000 eggs.

Martin said some of the families also received diapers and cash donations.

“We had over 200 people here. No one had to pay for anything. We wanted to make sure the local families had a nice Easter and something special was done for all the children. There are people here today helping who care about our community,” Martin said.

The family of Javaris Russell, who was killed April 12, was one of the families receiving assistance Sunday. Russell was found fatally shot in a driveway off Colonial Street in Warren.

Ta’Kera Dukes, with her son Israel Russell, who just turned 1 last week, were there one day after Javaris Russell’s funeral.

“This means a lot to me. I appreciate that they went out of their way to do this for me and others,” Dukes said, noting her son celebrated his first birthday without his father.

Martin said the group wanted to do as much as they could for the families who have faced hardships this past year.

Da’Zhanae Rodgers brought her two children, Dari’us Williams, 2, and Da’Riyah Williams, 3, whose father D’Anthony Williams was fatally shot Jan. 8 in Warren.

“This really helps us out and especially at Easter. They like their new bikes,” Rodgers said as the children rode their bicycles in the parking lot.

Deandrea Porter, event coordinator, said it meant a lot to be able to hold the event and help families who lost their loved ones in tragedies.

“There were so many people and businesses that helped to make this possible,” she said.