Home News Local News Easter's Fulfillment
By LISA BRITTON
Of the Baker City Herald
Lela Fordice plucks a pink plastic egg from a pile, pops it open and scoops three pieces of candy corn into the cavity.
She caps it with the egg's other half, drops it with a rattle into the bucket at her feet and reaches for another empty egg.
Now repeat 9,949 times.
Fortunately, Fordice wasn't alone in this task a group of about 10 volunteers at Settlers Park have worked for three weeks stuffing candy, toys, bracelets, rings, tattoos and chocolate coins into plastic eggs for this Saturday's community Easter egg hunt at Geiser Pollman Park.
The hunt is sponsored by the Kiwanis Club and the Baker City Herald.
The whistle blows at 10 a.m. to start the hunt and youth ages 1 to 11 need to line-up at their respective, roped off areas by 9:45 a.m. (A map of the park can be found on page 12A.) Members of the Kiwanis will help direct hunters to the appropriate section.
The park will be scattered with stuffed animals, wrapped candy and 19,900 plastic eggs half of them filled by Settlers Park residents.
Lois DelCurto, activities director at Settlers Park, saw a request for help filling plastic eggs in the Baker City Herald.
"I thought, who in the world is going to stuff those Easter eggs?' " she said.
DelCurto figured she might be able to find some willing helpers among the residents at Settlers Park.
She was right.
"I just started putting out the eggs and they started coming," DelCurto said. "I ran out of eggs and they were really bugging me where are the eggs?' I tell you what, they start doing it and they'll sit here for hours."
Luella Larsen, 79, can't keep track of how many plastic eggs she's pried open to fill with prizes.
"Oh my gosh, I have no idea. Whenever that bucket comes, we just start in," she said on Tuesday.
The she turned to search for DelCurto.
"We need more candy, honey," she called.
"They keep me hopping, that's for sure," DelCurto laughed as she plopped two more bags of candy corn on the table.
As they worked, the women recalled the Easter holidays of their childhoods.
None remembered any scrambling dashes to find hidden eggs.
"I was born and raised in a big city," Larsen said. "We didn't have those kinds of things."
But she does enjoy helping make the hunt possible for Baker City's youngsters.
"It makes me feel like we're really helping somebody and doing good," she said.
Donna Norris, 69, grew up in Vale.
"We used to go on picnics, have fireworks and have everything else. Boy, we had fun," she said. "We were making memories it's fun to remember those times. This is worth it, just thinking about those little kids having so much fun."
As these women worked to fill their pile of eggs, students at the Baker-Union Education Service District's Alternative School at Haines spent three hectic days stuffing the rest of the egg supply.
"During our elective time all the students have volunteered the sit and stuff eggs," said Coby Weber, vocational trainer.
Their elective time an hour to 90 minutes long usually involves art, career development or physical education classes.
An average of 45 to 50 students tackled the project, she said.
"The kids enjoy doing this kind of stuff," Weber said.
Thousands of eggs and pounds of candy
How much candy does it take to pacify hordes of hungry children at the annual Easter egg hunt?
Try 400 pounds of wrapped sweets, jelly beans and candy corn.
Nearly half of the eggs are stuffed with toys or money ($300 worth of cash in quarters, 50-cent pieces, silver dollars and bills) or gift certificates.
Two hundred stuffed animals will also be scattered around the park, and t-shirts will be awarded to each category winner who picks up the grand prize eggs.
Most of the candy, eggs, prizes and stuffed animals were donated for the hunt.
Community donations totaled $5,499.