VERNON — Over 200 candy-filled baskets will be up for grabs this year at Craig’s Kitchen’s third annual Easter basket giveaway.
Craig’s Kitchen, a soul food restaurant at 13 West Main St. in downtown Rockville that opened in 2017, is still collecting donations for the event, which owner Craig Wright said will easily eclipse the previous two giveaways thanks to the massive volume of candy that already has been donated.
“Every year we try to give back to the community,” he said. “It’s important to us that we do because they’ve done a lot for me, my business, and my family.”
Wright said he was able to give away about 120 baskets last year, but as of last week he had enough candy to prepare over 200. Some of the baskets line the front window of his restaurant beside of a mountain of candy that’s yet to be organized.
Individual donors, who Wright said have come from all over the state, and local businesses have been the driving force behind the event, Wright said, adding that TMC Photography, T.J. Maxx, and employees from Vernon Superior Court have all participated.
“Just like any other event that we do, it’s all about the community rallying together,” he said. “Obviously it’s not a necessity to have an Easter basket, but it’s something that makes the kids feel great, and that’s the bottom line — it’s all about making the kids feel good.”
TMC Photography on Hyde Avenue took photos of children in front of a St. Patrick’s Day-themed background last week and provided one digital file of the photos in exchange for a donation of candy, owner Tabitha Cefaratti said. If families purchased additional photos, the profits were used to buy more candy, she said.
The Easter basket giveaway, which will take place at the restaurant beginning at 1 p.m. Easter Sunday, is one of two major events held each year by the restaurant and made possible through community donations. Wright also provides free Thanksgiving meals each year by preparing food donated by community members.
Wright, who grew up in Michigan, said he lost his mother at a young age and lived with various family members as a child. Eventually, he wound up homeless and spent time in prison, he said.
“A lot of people around here know I wasn’t always the best person,” he said. “I built up a lot of negative karma and it all came back and bit me somewhat, but now I’m just trying to be positive. The more positivity you put out, the more that comes in return.”
Donations can be dropped off at Craig’s Kitchen.