The Van Meter Department of Public Safety and the De Soto Fire Department are partnering together to host this year’s Easter celebrations.

Historically, both towns have increased training time together, set up simultaneous fire and EMS responses in their jurisdictions and worked diligently to assist each other’s police departments as a way to enhance their current relationship. Now, the partnership between De Soto and Van Meter will give parents throughout the local community an opportunity to help make their children’s lives as normal as possible while navigating such an unprecedented time.

“The Van Meter Department of Public Safety and the De Soto Fire and Police Departments have always been active partners,” Van Meter Police Chief Bill Daggett said. “As part of this relationship we were asked if we would like to have our community participate in the De Soto Fire Department’s Easter basket giveaway. We, of course, at this time in our nations history are looking for anything that can give a moment of joy to our residents and a break from the COVID-19 issue.”

The De Soto Fire Department was originally planning on an Easter Egg Hunt with Ketelsen RV before COVID-19 broke out, while the town of Van Meter had planned an Easter Egg Hunt of their own. However, both towns have since cancelled these events, and instead are coming together to help bring Easter cheer to local families.

“This [partnership] is good for the citizens of De Soto and Van Meter,” Daggett said. “We greatly value our partnership with the City of De Soto emergency services. I cannot thank Chief Booth and Chief Sparling enough for being great partners. They truly care about the citizens of De Soto and Van Meter.”

In the spirit of Easter and social distancing, the De Soto Fire Department will offer a drive-thru Easter basket giveaway at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 11. Each of the roughly 275 baskets will be filled with assorted chocolates, candy, books and toys, all of which was donated by The World Market located in West Des Moines. The Easter Bunny and Marshall the Dalmatian will also make an appearance at the event by helping hand out baskets as attendees drive by.

“I believe that spirits are at all time lows right now for kids and families. Some parents may have lost their jobs and funds may be tight. With us being able to provide something to make this holiday more special, that’s all that we ask. We are paying forward what World Market has done for us,” De Soto Fire Chief John Booth said.

The Easter Basket event will take place on Saturday at the De Soto Fire Station located at 329 Elm St. The fire department is also asking that all attendees drive east on Elm Street in order to enter on the west side of the station, as traffic will be one way through the station’s parking lot.