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Volunteers stuff 10,000+ plastic eggs for Easter

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Volunteers stuff 10,000+ plastic eggs for Easter

Ashley Wheeler, 12, at left, seated next to Kaity Birmingham, 15, took advantage of their Easter break from their studies to help stuff Easter eggs Tuesday at Prestige Senior Living for Saturday's ...

ROSE ALBANO RISSO/The Bulletin


POSTED March 31, 2010 2:51 a.m.
Three dozen pairs of hands equals 10,000 plastic eggs.

Those inconruent numbers actually add up when one is talking about the small crew of volunteers who gathered Tuesday at Prestige Senior Living in Manteca to stuff the mountain of plastic eggs with candy for Saturday’s annual Easter Egg Hunt sponsored by the Manteca Noon Kiwanis.

The event is marking its 25th year when it takes place Saturday at Northgate Park in Manteca, but this is only the second year that plastic eggs filled with candies are used instead of the labor-intensive and messy traditional dyed real eggs.

The volunteer crew included grandparents who brought along their grandchildren, as well as the Kiwins group from East Union High School accompanied by their adviser Herb Danielsen, and about a dozen Manteca CAPs clients who were accompanied by area coordinator Rachelle Gomez. The youngest helper was five-year-old St. Paul’s Preschooler Kole Kalin who came with his grandma Marie Knodt. Kaity Birmingham, 15, who is enrolled in an independent study program, came along with her grandmother, Linda LaRock. Rounding up the enthusiastic group that gathered at Prestige Senior Living were retired businessmen like Jack Cushman, former owner of the now-defunct Pietro’s Restaurant in Manteca, and Noon Kiwanis members Dick Prada, Dave Soeth, George Montross and Sunny Sundell. Prada is a lifetime member of the club. Soeth is the group’s current president, while Montross is the chairman of this year’s egg hunt. Sundell is executive director of Prestige where the club meets every Tuesday.

Some of the volunteers, like Knodt and her grandson, came to help after reading the story that appeared in the Bulletin calling for extra hands to prepare the Easter eggs.

“He wanted to come and do this. He was raring to come and stuff eggs. He’s a very good worker,” a proud Knodt said smiling at grandson Kole who went on working oblivious to the chatter around him.

For Wheeler, it was just another day of hanging out at Prestige and helping her mother generally as a gofer. She can do that quite often because she is home-schooled through Venture Academy.

Sundell said some neighbors of Prestige on East Louise Avenue also showed up at the egg-stuffing event Tuesday after reading about the need for volunteers in the newspaper. They not only came to help; some of them even brought some donations to be given away as prizes on Saturday.

Montross said several local businesses have generously stepped forward to help as well. Casino Royale donated $500. “That will help offset some of our expenses,” he said.

Costco and Raley’s donated gift cards. Costco also gave Easter baskets and kites for the children.

Stepping up to the plate likewise were Walmart and Accent Carpets.

“Walmart has always been a good neighbor,” Montross said.

Additionally, he said, “a lot of people in the club” chipped in some donations which will be used to purchase the three bicycles which will be the grand prizes for each age group in the Easter egg hunt.
The Noon Kiwanis Club actually has only 15 members. And that’s up from the 10 members that they previously had, Montross said with a laugh.

“We’re a small club but we’re mighty. Our former member Juli Rhodes said that,” added Montross, still laughing.

Each youngster participating in the egg hunt will receive one ticket for the drawing which will be held at the conclusion of the egg hunt. The egg hunt, to be held at Northgate Park, will officially start at 11 a.m. but gates will be open at 10:30 a.m. The three age groups in the egg hunt will be: 0-3 years old, 4-7 years of age, and 8-12 years.

About 1,200 children are expected to attend based on previous years’ attendance.
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