A local mother and daughter duo from Federal Way spread Easter cheer Sunday to more than 100 kids in the South King County area.
Dressed in bunny suits and with plenty of candy to share, Maggie Cante Tinza and her 13-year-old daughter, Marianna, visited dozens of families in Federal Way, Auburn, Tacoma and Puyallup on April 12.
After seeing conversations on social media about many families missing their annual Easter Bunny visit traditions because of the current health crisis and mandated stay home orders, Maggie had an idea to bring the tradition to their doorsteps.
Maggie asked her boss if she could borrow her workplace’s bunny suit, and enlisted the help of her daughter, whom she said was eager to partake. She connected with families via Facebook and mapped out more than 40 neighborhood stops in various cities along their bunny tour.
“We decided that we were going to go spread cheer,” she said. “You have to keep that spirit and hope alive for the kids.”
Maggie and Marianna, who was the energetic Bun Bun the Easter Bunny on Sunday, spent the day handing out candy, playing hopscotch, dancing and meeting kids from all over the South Sound while still catering to each families’ guidelines for visits.
The two would park a few houses down and walk down the street to the houses, where parents would nonchalantly have their kids outside, Maggie said.
“It was the cutest,” Maggie said of kids’ reactions. “Once they realized the Easter Bunny was coming down the road, they’d call their neighbors. Parents were delighted.”
In one neighborhood, about 30 kids and their families stood on the sidewalks, yards and streets to catch a glimpse of the Easter Bunny — all while abiding social distancing, Maggie said.
Some people even told Maggie the Easter Bunny visit was the highlight of their quarantine, she said.
The two logged about 380 miles of travel for the visits, and only asked families for a small monetary donation for gas if possible.
“It was so much fun, I didn’t think we’d have the reaction we did,” she said.
After the Easter Bunny visits, the two drove around to search for homeless camps and donated the 50 pounds of leftover candy to individuals.
“They were like ‘wow, we get candy too?’” said Maggie, noting the individuals’ appreciation.
Maggie said her Native American background and community-focused upbringing has crafted how she lives her life. Growing up in South Dakota, Maggie’s parents and grandmother played a major role in her view of selflessness.
“I was taught if you’re able to help and get out there, then get out there and do that,” she said.
Deemed the “Native Mother Teresa” by the Nisqually Tribe, Maggie now does community outreach and contract work for multiple tribes. She is also an extreme couponer, and has donated much of her stockpiled supplies to elders in need and nonprofits during the pandemic.
As for Bun Bun the Easter Bunny, Maggie said she and Marianna are already looking forward to next year after Sunday’s success.
“Just seeing the smiles on kids’ and families’ faces, it’s all I could’ve asked for,” she said. “We all needed a break from the negativity in the world … We’re all in this together.”