Easter Sunday morning began dark, wet and gloomy, but that didn’t stop the Easter Bunny from delivering Easter presents to children from a safe social distance.
Lorie Bartron of Bartron Real Estate Group chauffeured Mr. Bunny — also known as her husband Kerry Bartron — about town. The couple slowed down to wave to walkers, joggers and excited children they passed along the way.
“We were having our virtual meeting last week and trying to think of something that we could do to brighten up the community. We came up with this idea to spread a little joy, still do it safely, still do it at a distance,” Ms. Bartron said.
Her real estate group reached out to 30 families to let them know the Easter Bunny would be stopping by.
“They are clients, friends and family and people we thought might be alone. We just made a list. We knew we could make about 30 stops today and that’s what we’re doing,” Ms. Bartron said.
Each family got a basket of Easter treats like chocolate rabbits, jelly beans and Peeps. Ms. Bartron said she was especially thankful that the Easter Bunny made the time to deliver the baskets in person.
“He’s a good sport and so he was on board to hop along with me to make the deliveries. He has made an appearance a time or two for the greater good of the community,” Ms. Bartron chuckled.
“I think that normally we’re just focused on our family on a holiday like today, but today we’re looking kind of more to a greater sense — we’re thinking about the community, rather than just our own family,” Ms. Bartron said.
She explained that on a normal Easter she would be having a large family event.
“I think that normally we’re just focused on our family on a holiday like today, but today we’re thinking about the community rather than just our own family. We miss our family, we’re not able to see them, but this is really a nice way to see more people,” Ms. Bartron said.
“We do have our grandkids on the list!” Mr. Bartron added in a muffled voice through his bunny mask.
He said the Easter Bunny tried to keep things positive by not mentioning the coronavirus during the home visits.
“I’m trying to get up there to say (to the kids) ‘I’ve heard you’ve been really good during this time and your parents are very happy and I thought I’d bring you something because you’ve been such a good kid.’ That’s been the theme,” the Easter Bunny said.
Ben Borowski and Krista Treide-Borowski brought their 7-year-old daughter Reevie out to the front yard of their Lucinda Lane home to pick up her basket. Reevie shyly approached the Easter Bunny with her parents’ encouragement.
“Easter is a special holiday for us as we carry forward many family traditions that start days before Easter Sunday, such as dying eggs the night before, waking early on Easter to hunt for eggs and find the Easter basket and other goodies left by the Easter Bunny. We also love to dress up, bake and cook traditional recipes and meet friends and family for brunch,” Ms. Treide-Borowski said.
This year her family had to make some adjustments because of the coronavirus pandemic such as maintaining social distancing, despite the Easter holiday.
“This year we tried to maintain as much of a sense of normalcy as possible. As an example, we did our Easter egg dying and will connect with friends and family on Sunday via Zoom and FaceTime. Santa Barbara has a tremendous sense of community and The Bartron Group is a wonderful example of this. They commonly do creative things around the neighborhoods to build a stronger community bond and today was a really thoughtful and imaginative way as to how to adapt to this current situation. We’re grateful for Lorie and her team helping continue extending joy and excitement during such uncertain times,” Ms. Treide-Borowski said.
The Easter Bunny’s next stop was the Roessler home where Alicia Roessler and her sons Keegan, 9, and Jackson, 13, were waiting at the front gate.
“We normally do an egg hunt; sometimes we go out and go to the beach. We miss that. We’ve been totally keeping away from everyone, I have Lyme disease, so we’re a little immune suppressed,” Ms. Rosseler said.
Gabe Donovan, 24, and his sister, Victoria, met the Easter Bunny at the fountain in front of their home on Plaza Bonita.
Ms. Donovan said she came home to spend Easter with her brother and ride out the coronavirus pandemic for a while.
“We’re gonna do an Easter egg hunt. Me and my sis have done it since we were little kids growing up,” Mr. Donovan said.
“We’re gonna have angel food cake, berries, go for a walk, have dinner, eat candy, listen to Andrea Bocelli live from the (Milan) Duomo. We decorated eggs yesterday,” Pattie Walker said.
“This is what we do for an Easter plan,” Mr. Donovan agreed.
Finally, the Easter Bunny visited Ms. Bartron’s grandchildren at their home on Roberto Avenue.
Elisa and John Hills looked on as their children Johnny, 10, and Lila, 7, played in the front yard with their dog, Charlotte. They waved at their grandparents and reached over the front fence to accept their Easter baskets.
Normally the Hills go to Easter service at the Courthouse Sunken Garden followed by a family brunch and egg hunt, but this year they’ve had to adjust their celebration.
Mr. Hills said relatives usually come in from the Los Angeles area to celebrate.
Lila said the family has been doing sport-a-thons every weekend and the neighborhood kids drew chalk Easter eggs randomly on sidewalks and driveways to liven up the neighborhood with Easter cheer.
“We’re just doing brunch in the house, and not getting to see family, but getting to see some family from 6 feet away. This is awesome because they (Johnny and Lila) get to have somewhat of a festive experience. They don’t have to feel like they missed out,” Mrs. Hills said.