Local company works to spread joy this Easter while creating jobs for people with disabilities

Published: Mar. 16, 2017 at 8:33 AM CDT
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Plastic Easter eggs have become a Spring time staple.

"We just fill up the eggs with the candy and we just stick them to the racks," explained Jessica Fletcher, employee at the Sunny Bunny Easter Eggs workshop.

A group of employees in Springfield has been hard at work filling, sorting and shipping millions of the eggs to people and businesses across the country.

" [Sunny Bunny Easter Eggs] started in January of 2009. For that Easter we did about a million and a half [eggs] and we've grown since then to 13 million," said Margaret Champlin, Trainer at Sunny Bunny.

69 employees at the Sunny Bunny Easter Egg workshop work year-round to meet the demand.

"We have a crunch time for our shipping. We have two weeks left to get these eggs produced so they can get out to everybody," said Champlin.

New for the first time Sunny Bunny Easter Eggs will actually be sold in stores. Workshop supervisors say they're excited about this new opportunity to expand the Sunny Bunny brand among local residents.

"It gets the word out locally that we are here and we're very strong," said Champlin.

In the past the eggs have been exclusively sold online. Now, having a display case in stores will familiarize the community with the product and the people behind it.

"The employees have special needs, they have different problems, some of them are physical and just different things. These limitations might make them not be as successful in competitive employment, but yet we teach them all of the things to make them be able to succeed outside of here," said Champlin.

And for employees, this opportunity is more than just a paycheck.

"It's more fun, I get to hang out with friends, talk with people," said Fletcher.

Jessica Fletcher says sometimes she fills up to 40 trays of eggs a day and the time flies because she's having fun and working for a purpose.

"It just helps out by giving the kids a great Easter," said Fletcher.

"It's a joy to come in here and work with these guys, you never know what they're going to teach you and believe me they teach you a lot. If nothing else they teach you compassion and courage, and they just teach you all kinds of cool stuff," said Champlin.

You can get the eggs at Harter House on Eastgate and Hy-Vee in Springfield.