In a few days, children will dig through the pastel grass in their Easter baskets on the hunt for all kinds of goodies. Those lucky enough to find personalized eggs, decorated with chicks and their names, will probably assume they came from the Easter Bunny.
But several women with paint-stained fingers will know differently.
Since 1991, the Junior Charity League of Concord have decorated Easter eggs as one of its larger fundraisers.
Founded in 1930, the league began as a charity that fed hungry school children milk and crackers. As the needs of the county changed, so did the group’s way of offering assistance, but not its purpose of serving children.
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Its most well-known program provides new clothing for under-served school children in the county. Last year, the Mariam C. Schramm Clothing Room kept more than 1,200 students warm with new winter coats and sweatshirts, along with other essentials, like toiletries.
Fundraisers, like the Easter egg sale, help support the cause.
As early as November, the league orders 1,000 wooden eggs from an online woodcraft company. Once the 10 sacks of 100 eggs each arrive on the organization’s doorstep, members snap into action.
“First, they need a base coat,” said Chrissy Hayes, executive support director for JLC, of the off-white paint sponged on before each egg takes on its design. “We have a few people who are base-coat specialists.”
Once that’s done, the eggs disappear into members’ homes. Some invite others to paint together, while others paint in solitude. Some paint a dozen. Some paint more.
“I once put 800 bunny heads on those eggs,” said Kae Bradley, who has led the egg committee in the past. “That was obnoxious.”
Retired from painting, Bradley helps in supporting roles.
“I guess I would be the logistics coordinator,” said Bradley. “My job is to take the egg from Janet’s hand and put it in a bag.”
Member Janet Schmitt has personalized the eggs with the recipients’ names since 1994.
“I wouldn’t want to throw my handwriting into the mix,” Bradley said.
There are only three rules when deciding on a design: keep it simple, spring-themed and generic enough for a boy or a girl.
“Frogs, chicks, bunnies, carrots, Easter baskets. Last year, we did an owl, and he was very well-liked. The Easter following 9/11 was a patriotic egg,” said Hayes. “Other than that one year, it's always been spring-themed.”
Some order just one. Others order as many as four-dozen. The furthest traveling egg is shipped to Illinois, where a former resident of Concord now lives. Each egg costs $7.
The order deadline has past for this year, but because all but a few eggs are sold each year, Hayes doesn’t see the tradition dying out anytime soon.
“Some people keep them in their curios all year long. Some people just pull them out at Easter. I know a lot of people give them to their grandchildren on Easter Sunday. That seems to be really big,” said Hayes. “When you have them all out as a group, they look really cool.”
Lisa Thornton is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Lisa? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
For information about the Junior Charity League of Concord, go to www.jclofconcord.com