Between December 2016-February 2017 the Basic Needs program served 401 families in Erath County, and once again made Easter special for their kids at the annual carnival and Easter basket giveaway Thursday.

The Graham Street Church of Christ’s Basic Needs is an organization that provides food, clothing and other necessities as well as assistance with rent, gas and other utilities to area families that qualify.

“Families will fill out a form that includes the number of members and estimated income. It’s rare that anybody is turned down,” said volunteer and co-founder of the Easter event Beulah Hodges. “They’re allowed to come once a month to get groceries and we give them four bags to fill with clothes.”

Thursday’s Easter event included basket giveaways, pictures with the Easter bunny, games, face painting, crafts, a glow in the dark egg hunt and many other fun activities.

“It’s so fun to see the kids get their Easter baskets and enjoy the little games,” said volunteer Sandy Steele.

Besides their regular volunteers, around 50 Tarleton State University senior nursing students will be helping as part of the university’s Week of Service initiative.

Last year volunteers made about 115 baskets and this year the event has grown with more than 150 baskets made for the celebration.

Basic Needs has been up and running for more than six years and with the recent growth has many improvements planned for the organization.

“Since Sandy took over she’s put so much effort into it and she’s always there helping people,” Hodges said.

Improvements will include a nice sitting area where clients can wait, a play area for kids and a building renovation.

“We’re going to have a sitting area so people just don’t have to stand outside and a little kids area with a TV with people to supervise; those are our immediate things,” Steele said. “The big thing is that our whole building is about to be renovated and it’s going to be beautiful.”

Steele said Basic Needs is not just a hand-out organization.

“When we help people we don’t just hand out stuff, they do sweat equity for the amount we helped them with,” she said. “Most of them really enjoy helping out here and there’s a great need for this in the community.”

For more information about Basic Needs visit the Graham Street church of Christ website at www.gscofc.org.