MORRIS – With the sun shining and the spring temperatures rising, children and their parents filled Goold Park on Saturday for their chance to gather some of the 8,000 candy-filled eggs spread out by Morris Lions Club members assisting the Easter Bunny.
“It’s a lovely way to treat the kids in the community,” Lions Club member Judy Miller said. “Lions Club is all about family. This is a good way to promote good family time.”
The park had four areas sectioned off with caution tape for the different age groups to gather their goods.
Ages 1 to 3 years old were near the Lions’ pavilion at the west side of the park, ages 4 and 5 were near the tennis courts, while the older kids hunted down the hill near the swimming pool with ages 6 and 7 in one area and ages 8 and up in another.
Each age group had a gold egg, a silver egg and eggs with numbers one, two and three. Children who find these special eggs are given an Easter basket, in addition to the candy they get from their eggs.
“It’s a way to say thank you to the community that is so incredibly generous,” club president Irene Leopold said.
Four-year-old Abigail Borchers of Morris was on hand with her 6-month-old brother Jaxon, baskets ready to take part in what has become a family tradition for them.
“Last year, the Easter Bunny picked me up, and I cried,” Borchers said after she posed for a picture with the Easter bunny. “He looked so funny this year.”
She said she was going to pick up Easter eggs and get the candy in them. She predicted she would get 12 Easter eggs this year.
Five-year-old Patrick St. Dennis of Morris had much loftier goals though – he predicted he would get 100 eggs.
“We’re gonna run in, and if we find one, two or three we get a prize,” St. Dennis said.
As the clock ticked closer to 10:30 a.m., the kids lined up along the caution tape, baskets in hand, and got ready to race to the eggs scattered freely in the grass in open sight.
As the tape dropped, the kids scrambled to get as many eggs as they could. In under five minutes the 8,000 eggs were all gathered.
Sisters Audrey Haas, 3, and Margaret, 5, had baskets full of colorful eggs when the hunt was over.
“Getting all the eggs was fun,” Margaret said as she showed her favorite purple and blue egg.
Her sister said they would be hunting for more eggs on Easter morning, and she hopes they are filled with M&Ms, her favorite candy.
The Lions Club used to fill the Easter eggs themselves but were not able to do the quantity, so they looked for outside help to get the 8,000 eggs.
“We found a sheltered workshop that stuffs eggs, each one is packed with candy and are created by a not-for-profit group,” Miller said. “We like to support other not-for-profit organizations.”
Leopold said the Lions are the world’s largest not-for-profit service organization with more than 3 million members.
“Our goal is to eradicate preventable blindness,” Leopold said. “Locally, we do whatever we can to help.”
They have helped provide both eyewear and hearing aids to people in the Morris area.