In Brentwood-Darlington, the Easter Bunny shows up overhead -- dropping eggs on everyone!

DAVID F. ASHTON - From a helicopter hovering above, Easter Eggs showered down on everyone - theyre empty, and lightweight - at the seventh annual Code Orange Easter Egg Hunt sponsored by HopeCity Church in Brentwood Park. Although dark clouds loomed overhead and the forecast was for steady rain, on the morning of March 24, nearly 1,800 neighbors gathered in Brentwood Park to play games, visit with the Easter Bunny, and await this year's arrival of the helicopter to drop orange Easter Eggs from high in the air.

As in years past, the family event was hosted on the Saturday before Easter, so the congregation and volunteers could prepare for and enjoy Easter services on April 1, remarked Pastor Brian Becker of the sponsoring HopeCity Church. "When we started our church, which met at the nearby school, we realized that there wasn't an Easter Egg hunt in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood, and kids had to go elsewhere to enjoy the fun."

Brentwood Park remains the location for the airborne cascade of plastic eggs, even though the church outgrew the school and moved their services to a school in Ardenwald, and the church's offices are in Woodstock, above the Grand Central Bakery on Woodstock Boulevard, Becker told THE BEE.

"Here, at our seventh annual 'Code Orange Easter Egg Hunt', 100 volunteers are helping out – and about 1,400 kids have preregistered," smiled Becker.

Registration was free for Brentwood-Darlington kids; parents of children outside the neighborhood were asked for a financial contribution; all funds collected were to be donated to the Brentwood Darlington Neighborhood Association.

In addition to free field and carnival-style games, organizers held five raffles to keep people interested and excited while awaiting the helicopter. The Woodstock Fire Station's Ladder Truck 25, parked along S.E. 60th Avenue, was also a major attraction.

"We continue to hold this event," Becker said, "because Jesus loved people without reservation; and following in His way, we're letting our neighbors consistently know, year after year, that we love and care about them, with no strings attached."

Amazingly, the forecast rain held off – and, as promised, a large helicopter appeared overhead, circled around the park, and then began dropping thousands of bright orange (but empty) plastic Easter eggs. After the load was released, children ran to collect – and then exchange – the eggs for one of 1,500 bags of candy that volunteers had prepared.

After the egg hunt, organizers presented the Brentwood-Darlington Neighborhood Association (BDBA) a check for $2,342 – the proceeds from the registration donations.

BDNA Chair Chelsea Powers commented to THE BEE, "This is an amazing event for our neighbors; it doesn't matter it's done by a faith organization or some other group, if you're doing good work in the neighborhood, we're happy to have you here!"

Powers reflected, "What makes this so special is that it gathers our neighborhood across all segments of the community, providing a unique party, and a great way for people to come together and meet each other."

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