Pay It Forward: The Bunny Hoppers on a Mission

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They call themselves The Bunny Hoppers,  a group of four sisters who make it their mission to bring happiness to area senior citizens in nursing homes.

One woman, who saw them in action last year, wanted to Pay It Forward.

"My mother was a patient at Heartland Nursing Home and they went and visitor her; and it was very personal.  It just brightened her day up, and when I seen that happen I was like, 'I need to get involved,'" said Julie Smith.

Smith wants the Bunny Hoppers women to know how much they are appreciated, and to give them some financial help so they can continue their project.

That’s why she nominated Tommie Shadden and The Bunny Hoppers for the $300 Ascentra Credit Union “Pay It Forward” award.

"This means so much to us," Shadden said, "I can't tell you enough how much we appreciate this."

Shadden and The Bunny Hoppers continued their nine-year tradition at the Rock Island Rehabilitation and Nursing Center for Easter 2014.

The bunny hands out stuffed animals while dancing, shaking hands and visiting with the residents.

"I wish everyone could see the look on these people's faces.  The nurses will tell us, 'I've never seen her smile before,' or 'Look, she's laughing;' 'He's usually grumpy and look, he's smiling ear to ear,'" Shadden said.  "(It's) just the response we get.

The bunny will have visited 22 sites this year to hand out nearly 2,000 stuffed animals.

The Bunny Hoppers collect what donations they can from the community, friends and family.  They sometimes use their own money.

"We are just a family trying to make this work.  We bargain shop big time and we will buy more plush animals to give out," Shadden said

Smith hopes the $300 will help the Bunny Hoppers continue their work.

"What they did for my mom, it just broke my heart.  It just brought tears to my eyes to see how much joy they can give to a resident," Smith said.

The Bunny Hoppers are always looking for donations

You can learn more about the group on their Facebook page - click here.

To nominate someone for Pay it Forward, click here.