By Veronica Burniston
Through heavy rain and rumbling thunder, the Easter Bunny and Mountain City Community Center staff delivered a tangible joy to children through this year’s Easter bag drive-thru on Saturday, March 27. In previous years, the Community Center had celebrated Easter with a giant Easter egg hunt in Ralph Stout Park. Unfortunately, when COVID hit the U.S. last year, the event was canceled, leaving the Center with 5,000 Easter eggs.
With a dash of creative thinking, the staff started the Center’s first Easter bag drive-thru. The event was a success and was later used for Halloween trick-or-treat bags as well. Due to recent COVID numbers in surrounding counties, the Center decided it was best to host another drive-thru.
“We’re giving treats to lift kids up,” Flo Bellamy, the head of the Mountain City Community Center, said. “To let them know that even though these are tough times, you can still have fun.”
From noon till 1:30 p.m., the Community Center distributed Easter bags and baskets to children ages 3 to 12. Each bag contained a stuffed animal, candy, and an educational toy. Despite the wet weather, families in cars, SUVs, and trucks pulled along the basket table to receive baskets before waving to the Easter bunny. Several children took pictures with the Easter Bunny while one child raced from the car to lovingly hug the bunny’s legs. In addition to the Easter bags from the Community Center, volunteers from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library also gave the children free age-appropriate books.
“We’re just trying to bring a bit of joy,” Flo said. “We’re trying to serve the underserved…the kids who slip through the cracks. We want them to know, ‘This is your place.’”
Due to the inclement weather, the event closed half an hour early. However, the Community Center will resume handing out Easter bags Saturday, April 3, from noon until 2 p.m.
For more information about the Mountain City Community Center, contact Flo Bellamy at 727-2942. To learn more about the Imagination Library, visit www.imaginationlibrary.com.