Easter Bunny Helpers, a Facebook-based group that provides Easter baskets to those in need, has kicked off its 2017 campaign.

“Any bunny can help,” said Martin Smith of Milan, an administrator for the Facebook page at facebook.com/groups/1659882714236734 and an organizer of the effort.

“Last year, we collected and assembled over 200 baskets for area shelters,” he said.

This year, the group is partnering with another Facebook group, QC Pay It Forward Rock Island, with a goal of making 1,000 Easter baskets.

“We want to make them as nice, if not nicer, than you’d see in a store for $10,” he said.

The group is seeking donations of money, wrapped Easter candy, new small toys, Easter buckets, basket wraps, coloring books, crayons, bubbles and plastic eggs.

Smith invites any groups, such as bowling teams, civic organizations, churches or Scout troops, to participate. Until the end of March, the group seeks donations and volunteers, who should contact administrators through the Easter Bunny Helpers Facebook page.

When the group is ready to give out baskets to the public, they will post announcements daily on the QC Pay It Forward Rock Island page.

Get news headlines sent daily to your inbox

“We will take requests for baskets on that page as long as the quantity lasts and will confirm back to each family as their requests are approved,” Smith said.

The age range for children who are eligible to receive baskets will be 3-12. Families may pick up their baskets at a QC Pay It Forward Rock Island Easter Egg hunt set for April 8. Easter is April 16.

-- Linda Cook

Film critic/reporter since 1985 at Quad-City Times. Broadcast Film Critics Association member. College instructor for criminal justice, English and math. Serves on Safer Foundation and The Salvation Army advisory boards. Member of St. Mark Lutheran Church