Fairfield teen donates 585 Easter baskets over 10 years to children served by Operation Hope

While it’s not terribly unusual for a teenager to volunteer her time to help others, it is unusual for a child to have started so young and maintain and grow her giving over the course of 10 years.

In 2006, Molly Meehan, age 3, and her mother, Michele Meehan, of Fairfield, counted her piggy bank. Feeling she had too much for someone that age, Michele suggested they do something for a charity with those extra pennies. Michele called Operation Hope to see if they could donate an Easter basket. Michele thought it would be something fun and easy they could shop for, make together and deliver. After speaking with an Operation Hope employee, Michele asked out of curiosity how many baskets Operation Hope would need in order to give one to each child it served; that first year with the help of friends, Michele made 60 baskets. Molly helped, but being so little, she needed to clear the way for the assembly line!

Flash forward 10 years and 585 baskets later, Molly is now 13 years old and entirely capable of making baskets on her own. Two years ago, she recruited friends Abby King and Emma von der Linden. The girls run sports camps, movie nights and American Girl play dates to raise the money required to purchase everything for the baskets. They try to get Girl Scout cookies donated, which has been a colorful and tasty addition to the baskets for the last five years.

“I have learned so much from this project,” said Molly Meehan. “My friends and I run the whole project, from start to finish. We help raise the money, plan a budget, order and shop for inventory, create the assembly line necessary to produce so many baskets, track expenses, inventory completed baskets and help deliver. It’s really fun to see what we can accomplish together, but more importantly, we love bringing smiles to the faces of children in need in our community.”

“The project as a whole has been a wonderful learning experience for Molly,” said Michele Meehan. “I am thrilled that she sees this as something she wants to continue and not as something she is forced to do. Had we stopped after that first year, Molly would really not have learned anything from the experience, but by doing this for ten years now it has become a family tradition, one I hope she carries with her when she has a family of her own one day.”

“We are grateful to Molly for her support all these years. Something that seems so simple shows the children we serve that someone cares, and how lovely is it that it’s another child giving back and learning so much from her experience,” said Carla Miklos, Executive Director, Operation Hope. “Michele and her family are raising and inspiring such thoughtfulness in their beautiful daughter and her friends, and for that, our community is a better place.”