‘Let your kid smile’: Murrells Inlet business providing thousands of free Easter baskets to families

‘Let your kid smile’: Murrells Inlet business providing thousands of free Easter baskets to families

MURRELLS INLET, S.C. (WMBF) - For the second straight year, a Murrells Inlet business is helping to make Easter a bit brighter for thousands of families in Horry and Georgetown counties, by providing them with free Easter baskets.

Gary Bingham, the owner of the Bargain Warehouse at the Inlet Square Mall, said the business is committed to helping the community during the pandemic and that includes holiday celebrations.

“I would challenge other businesses, to give whatever you can give,” Bingham said. “If they want to give anything, they should do it.”

Bingham previously explained that Bargain Warehouse stores items to be sold to customers all over the world. But instead of selling the Easter items, he’s giving them to his community through Easter baskets.

The company started giving away baskets last year, right after the pandemic started, to ensure families struggling did not have to worry about providing their kids a holiday celebration.

During the 2020 Easter event, Bingham’s team distributed about 8,000 baskets. This year, his volunteers are making 20,000 baskets.

All families will receive an Easter basket. Some of the Easter items inside of the baskets include stuffed animals, candy, grass and eggs.

Patricia Marlow, the lead volunteer, said the team has already made over 4,000 baskets in the last 24 hours.

Marlow helped to coordinator the first basket giveaway the warehouse held last year.

She said based on stories she heard from parents, it was important to keep this tradition going for families who may still be going through a tough time.

“There were some families in position, they just couldn’t afford it. I volunteer a lot of places. I see so many people out of work. So many people asking for help, “ Marlow said. “I see the kids that are hungry. I see the families that come to me for help. It’s real. So being able to provide something so simple as an Easter Basket, if we can do it, let’s do it.”

Bingham understands some people may be hesitant about receiving help from others. He said he’s been through tough times himself. He wants to ensure families lean on their community for help when they need it most.

“There’s no shame at all in getting a hand-up,” Bingham said. " We call it a ‘hand-up’ because it’s not a ‘hand out.’ It’s something we’re trying to do because we know this situation was caused by something not of ourselves, that people are out of work not because they chose [to be] but because of the pandemic or whatever happened with their job. There’s no shame to it. We’re doing it out of love.”

“Come down, get your basket, let your kid smile on Easter morning,” Marlow said.

There will be three opportunities for families to receive the free Easter baskets next week:

  • Thursday, April 1, from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. at the Ekklesia Christian Church
  • Friday, April 2 and Saturday, April 3 from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., at the Bargain Warehouse in Murrells Inlet

Bingham said those attending the Bargain Warehouse events must stay inside of their vehicles. He said families can pull up in line outside of the store and let the volunteers know how many children need a basket.

He said during Thursday’s giveaway at Ekklesia Church, there will also be a free event for families taking place in addition to the basket giveaway, that will include free rides and food.

Marlow said the team is still seeking volunteers to help make the remaining Easter baskets and distribute the items on the event dates.

She said anyone interested in helping make the baskets can stop by the Bargain Warehouse during regular business hours on Saturday, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., and on Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.

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