The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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March 30, 2013

Eager for Easter eggs: Youngsters hunt for special prizes at Richland event

JOHNSTOWN — Nearly 100 children lined the edge of Arbutus Church of the Brethren’s parking lot on Saturday, joining announcer David Jones in counting down for the church’s annual Easter Egg Hunt.

At “three, two, one, go!” the throng of youngsters swept through the church property, scooping up colorful treat-filled plastic eggs that had been scattered in areas designated for each of three age groups.

Within minutes the happy hunters were coming back to the church and picnic pavilions and sorting through the bounty for special prizes.

“It starts at 1 o’clock, and it’s over at 1:01,” Jones said, exaggerating only a little.

Arbutus Church of the Brethren, located off Hostetler Road at 1201 Erickson Drive in Richland Township, has been offering its egg hunt as a gift to the neighborhood for at least 30 years, organizer Mary Jones said.

“It is an outreach to the community, just to share God’s love and his spirit this time of year,” Mary Jones said.

In addition to candy and special prizes the kids collected with their eggs, special goody bags were passed out to all participants.

“We rely on the generosity of all the church members who donate candy and eggs and other prizes,” Mary Jones said.

It’s popularity has grown beyond the neighborhood and has become a holiday tradition for many families.

Saturday’s participants included Robyn Shaffer of Reading and her children, Mady, Zachary and Hunter. They are spending Easter with Robyn Shaffer’s mother, Barbara Connor in Westmont.

Shannon Walylko of Hooversville has been bringing her daughters, Haylee and Aubrey to the Arbutus egg hunt since 7-year-old Aubrey was in preschool, taught by Mary Jones.

“That was fun,” 3-year-old Haylee Walylko said.

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