PHOENIX — After a two-year hiatus from in-person events, the Phoenix Rescue Mission was finally able to host hundreds of families and celebrate Easter.
Covid put a stop to their in-person events, shifting gears to drive-thru only.
Saturday, though, that all changed at Sullivan Elementary School.
"I'm having fun because I'm touching the animals," said Elizabeth Galan Robles.
Robles was enjoying herself, having some fun inside the petting zoo at the event.
"Because there's games and animals," she said with a smile. "I'm here with my brothers and sisters."
Rachel Stacke, the mission sharing supervisor with Phoenix Rescue Mission, says this is one of four big events they do every year.
"We have prepared for 400 families and we have collected 1,000 Easter baskets," said Stacke.
She says she's excited this one is actually in person.
"Two years ago, we shut everything down and went directly to drive-thru, and now we finally get to be in person," Stacke said.
Volunteers were handing out Easter baskets, food and hygiene bags. Games and crafts were available for kids.
"And the volunteer openings just went like that. It as very easy to get the spots filled," said Stacke.
Nathalie Trujilo is one of the 80 volunteers attending Saturday's event, deciding to spend her birthday giving back to the community.
"My heart is here. All Phoenix Rescue Mission is a family and today is an amazing day. We receive all the families here with us," said Trujilo.
Previn Carr, another volunteer couldn't agree more.
"Oh, it's great. It feels great. I think it's awesome. Especially when you can see that they really appreciate it. You can see the appreciation in their face," he said.
Xavier Gonzales couldn't help but smile at the event, saying this is what the community needs.
"Some of these kids don't get what they really want or don't have the opportunity to get it. And this gives them the opportunity to spend time with animals. Be around other kids. Spend time with other people and just get out... get out of the house," Gonzales told ABC15.
Meanwhile, Stacke says next Easter, they're hoping to serve even more people in the community.
"Next year, sky's the limit," she said.