Hopping down the bunny trail

Published 6:28 pm Wednesday, March 31, 2021

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A special surprise hopped down the trail for a few Suffolk nursing homes.

The Suffolk Sheriff’s Office visited nursing homes with the Easter Bunny in tow to bring some joy to the residents, even though they still could not go inside to visit.

Since 2016, the Sheriff’s Office has worked with The Easter Bunny Foundation, which provided the stuffed bunnies and the Easter Bunny costume to make visits to children’s hospitals and nursing homes. These visits have been in person in the past, but as COVID-19 is still impacting many aspects of life, the Sheriff’s Office has been able to adapt.

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“Hopefully, with vaccines and everything, we will be able to get back inside,” said Sheriff E.C. Harris. “It’s important to have that physical eye to eye contact, but it’s great we can still bring joy to the residents we visit.”

The bunny trail started at Lake Prince Woods on March 25 and, over the span of a week, made its way to Bon Secours Maryview Nursing Care Center, Concordia Assisted Living Nansemond Commons and plans to end on April 1 at Autumn Care.

At these visits, the Sheriff’s Office came with the Easter Bunny to wave, blow kisses and play peek-a-boo with the residents through their windows. At all but one location, the staff was given brightly colored stuffed bunnies holding a painted Easter egg with the message “Some Bunny Loves Me”  to hand out to each resident.

“It’s been challenging with COVID, and this will be the second year the Sheriff’s Office has had to do window visits,” said Cristan Kuntz. Activities director at Concordia Assisted Living Nansemond Commons. “The residents enjoy seeing them come. It brings extra joy in this challenging time.”

Last year, Concordia was the Sheriff’s Office’s final stop in their tour of window visits before everything closed down for the COVID-19 lockdown.

According to The Easter Bunny Foundation’s website, it was founded in 1995 and has partnered with over 100 sheriffs’ offices and police departments throughout the country to spread “the excitement and wonderment that only a personal visit from the Easter Bunny can bring.”

At the beginning of March, the Sheriff’s Office gave the women’s center at Sentara Obici Hospital 150 bunnies to give to babies born in March and April.