With help of his mother and volunteers, Jack Ryan donated 150 Easter baskets to Crossroads
It was just a simple idea thought of by Jack Ryan, the son of New England Invitations owner Pamela D’Orsi-Ryan, where he wanted to make Easter baskets for needy children in the area.
Five years ago, the mother-and-son team made approximately eight baskets and donated them to charity. From there, other residents and community members offered to help to expand the gesture.
And boy did it expand.
D’Orsi-Ryan, a native of Jamestown who owns and operates the East Greenwich-based wedding business, and her son saw Operation “Jack” Rabbit grow from creating a few assorted baskets filled with small toys and candy to having almost an entire community come together to help as many children as possible.
This past Saturday, D’Orsi-Ryan and her son, through the help of close to 50 friends, family and members within the wedding industry, donated 150 Easter baskets to Crossroads of North Kingstown to give to the children who are homeless and enjoy the spirit of the spring holiday.
During the four-hour stretch, D’Orsi-Ryan, who lives right across the street from St. Mark’s Church – and is also heavily involved with the church – had students from the Waldorf School, Providence Country Day, St. Michael’s, St. George’s, as well as some people from the Jamestown Recreation Department build the baskets at the church through an assembly line, of sorts, including candy like Cadbury Eggs along with chalk, bubbles and pens to use for play.
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“It all snowballed and came together,” D’Orsi-Ryan said via telephone on Monday. “The teams just came together and it was great. They just got to work and did it.”
A year after the project initially began, D’Orsi-Ryan told some people that her and her son were going to make more baskets at New England Invitations and, given the reputation she earned through her business, people then began donating funds to be put toward the creations of the baskets. From those donations, D’Orsi and her son created 100 baskets.
Then this past year, D’Orsi-Ryan called Crossroads and asked how many baskets they would want for this Easter. Crossroads responded by saying they would like another 100 baskets and maybe another 50, but gave her the option to stay at 100 if 150 was too high.
But D’Orsi-Ryan and her son, in approaching the goal, just took their cue from a well-known entrepreneurial cartoonist.
“As Walt Disney said, ‘keep moving forward,’” she said. “You just do it.”
D’Orsi-Ryan added that Crossroads complimented her and her son for thinking of the children during Easter time because very seldom does that occur. Crossroads was so appreciative of them that when she, her brother, her son and her father showed up to Crossroads from St. Mark’s Church, they were greeted with a big sign on the trailer’s exterior that said, simply, ‘Thanks!’
“It’s incredible,” D’Orsi-Ryan said.