Quilcene volunteers spread the cheer with Easter baskets for seniors

Posted 3/31/21

One year after the COVID-19 pandemic put the kibosh on pretty much every springtime tradition across Washington, volunteers with the Quilcene Historical Museum decided this year the virus …

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Quilcene volunteers spread the cheer with Easter baskets for seniors

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One year after the COVID-19 pandemic put the kibosh on pretty much every springtime tradition across Washington, volunteers with the Quilcene Historical Museum decided this year the virus wouldn’t prevent them from spreading Easter cheer.

Christine Satterlee, chair of the Quilcene Historical Museum, said in a normal year the museum would be hosting an Easter egg hunt for the local kids on the grounds at Worthington Park.

In 2021, with the hopeful end of the pandemic still lingering like an annoying dinner guest, the nonprofit opted to put off the hunt again this year.

That, however, didn’t mean the end to all of the group’s festive plans.

“In [2020] I think we all kind of went into a sort of shock; we didn’t do a thing,” Satterlee said. “Everyone was so afraid to go outside … that was when we were all basically mandated to stay at home, so nobody felt comfortable going out and nobody could organize anything.”

Satterlee said the return of Easter coincided with the nonprofit pondering how it could reach out to benefit Quilcene community members, while still remaining relatively socially distant.

“We wanted to give back,” Satterlee said. “We were aware that there were a lot of people who were probably stuck at home — especially our senior citizens — so, we came up with the idea of Easter baskets.”

Satterlee said the museum reached out to local churches and food banks in search of people who might benefit from a basket, which would serve to remind them that they’re not forgotten and better times are ahead.

“We were looking for someone who doesn’t have many visitors and is sort of shut-in,” Satterlee said. “They’ve been at home by themselves or maybe just with their husband and their wife … that’s who we were gearing it toward.”

After collecting a list of individuals whose day might be brightened by the surprise of an Easter basket, Satterlee said the group began orchestrating the creation of baskets in conjunction with other religious groups in the area.

Some of the volunteers went so far as to “adopt” individual recipients and learn about their interests so as to tailor their basket to fit perfectly.

On Saturday, March 27, the volunteers gathered up all of the baskets at the historic Worthington Mansion in Quilcene and readied them for distribution. Baskets filled with everything from gardening gloves and seeds to sweet treats, playing cards — and even one with some craft beer — filled the living room and the hearth of the mansion.

Carol Christiansen was among the volunteers preparing baskets inside the stately 129-year-old home.

Christiansen said she had chosen to “adopt” one of the people identified to receive a basket and picked out a book she knew her adoptee would enjoy. She added that the whole plan came following a statement from President Biden during his inauguration speech earlier this year.

“I remember a statement from him, he said, ‘Do something for your community,’” Christiansen said after straightening a teal-colored bow on one of the baskets.

“It’s been a hard year for many of our people who haven’t been able to get out … so let’s do something for them. Adult Easter baskets — that was our vision.”

“I think it’s our way of giving back. And this community has been so supportive of this project,” she added.

Christiansen said she felt like volunteering to put together the baskets was a welcome step out from the rigors of a viral lockdown. Just being able to go out and shop for basket stuffers felt like a sort of “reverse Christmas.”

“We were able to go out and spend a little money and do something for our community here,” she said. “I have enjoyed it very much.” 

While Christiansen said she no longer lives in Quilcene, she still calls the small rural community her “heart home.”

“My deepest friendships are still in Quilcene because it’s a small caring community,” Christiansen said. “We are a community of many different walks of life. There’s people who have retired here from the city; we have our living legends that we cherish here; we’re a mixed bag of beliefs and opportunities. But when something happens in this community that isn’t good, you see all of those people coming together.”

“And that’s the magic of this place. It’s very special.”

The Quilcene Historical Museum is a nonprofit that has overseen the acquisition and restoration of the Worthington Mansion and the Worthington Park grounds for the purposes of providing a community gathering place and events venue for the residents of Quilcene and visitors to the area.

For more information on the Worthington Park project, visit www.worthingtonparkquilcene.org/.

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