Ozarks Life: Record year for friends of the Easter Bunny

SWI Industrial Solutions sells 12.7 million Sunny Bunny Eggs.
Published: Apr. 7, 2023 at 5:49 AM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - On Bennett Street near Scenic, there’s a non-profit with a wealth of satisfied employees.

“How long have you been working here,” Chad Plein asked one worker.

“Twelve years!”

“Twenty-five,” says another worker.

“Why,” Plein asked.

“Because I got a cool boss named Michelle,” he said.

The workshop at SWI Industrial Solutions is always hopping busy for the Easter Bunny. It’s Sunny Bunny Easter Eggs won’t fill themselves.

“Our whole goal is to provide quality and dignified employment for people with disabilities,” general manager Dave Dunn said.

For the past 14 years, they’ve lined up purple, pink, blue, and yellow eggs. Dropped a sweet treat inside. Then popped them closed.

“What do you like most about working here,” Plein asked more workers.

“I do like the eggs,” one said.

“I just liked the people here and I just like the work,” said another.

“I like the tasks,” agreed another worker.

“I have a lot of friends to work with,” another said.

And the friends at work are almost as important as the work itself. This year, Sunny Bunny sold 12.7 million Easter Eggs. These workers have set a record in sales two years in a row.

“Without the workshop, there’d be people sitting at home watching TV,” Dunn said, “and the quality of life wouldn’t be as much as it is being here.”

And they earn friendships that last a lifetime.

“Monday is the happiest day here because they’re back with their friends,” Dunn said. “They’re back with their friends, back to work, and making a difference. Fridays at least half because it’s gonna be a couple of days before they’re back with their peers.”

In the last two years, SWI has grown to include facilities in Marshfield and Monett.

They’re already getting started on next year’s eggs for the Easter Bunny. They first pack toys inside the eggs; the candy gets packed closer to Easter so it’s fresh.

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