Teens, retirees assemble Easter baskets for homeless children

amana productions inc/iStock/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- Fifty homeless children will now have Easter baskets, thanks to a group of teenagers and retirement home residents in Illinois.

The multigenerational group filled the Easter baskets with lots of treats on Tuesday afternoon but made sure to include useful things like writing utensils and even toothbrushes to combat the sweets they were given.

"Unfortunately candy and an Easter basket is a luxury for us because we're trying to make sure we have enough money to keep the lights on, to keep the heat going, to have food for the shelter," Angela Hicks, executive director of the transitional housing provider Margaret's Village, told ABC-owned station WLS in Chicago. "People like to think of children as resilient. But children are really sponges. They soak up all the energy, all the pain. ... We don't want the children to have a horrible image of this period in their lives when they were homeless."

There are more than 18,000 students without a permanent residence in the Chicago area during the 2015 to 2016 school year, according to the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.

"I just want to see the smile on their faces," ninth-grader Carolina Duenas told WLS. "It just makes me happy and I know they're happy."

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