by: DAVID F. ASHTON - The first of thousands of plastic eggs start to fall from the helicopter.There was no “hunting” for Easter Eggs at this community gathering, again sponsored and put on by Inner Southeast Portland’s HopeCity Church in Brentwood Park on March 30.

With thousands of bright orange colored plastic Easter eggs distributed in two areas of the park, these prizes were easy to find.

“Welcome back to our second annual ‘Code Orange’ Easter egg drop,” smiled the church’s Lead Pastor, Brian Becker. “We have created a tradition here for the neighborhood. And, we’re having a blast doing it.”

They use the term “Code Orange”, Becker reminded THE BEE, because it means “top priority” in the medical field.

“We feel kids should be our top priority, and they deserve a great day to celebrate together. And, through an event of this magnitude, it’s a way our church gives back to our community – providing families in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood with an unique experience.”

They kept this “Easter Egg” promotion low-key, Becker said; they closed online registration three days beforehand, when they reached their maximum number of 1,000 participants. “We want to make sure we can serve all those who signed up. But, we had another 1,000 inquiries after the cut-off. Our neighbors apparently think well of the project.”

This year, this Easter-themed celebration, put on by 200 volunteers from the church, plus their friends and family, added attractions like a “bouncy house” and carnival games – and also having a free photo taken with an Easter Bunny and friend.

About 3,000 plastic eggs were distributed in a large circle in the center of the park, and in a side area, designated for kids less than 2 years of age. Then, as for the first time last year, “A helicopter will fly over, and it’ll drop another 8,000 eggs.”

To remove the competitive aspect from holding an “Easter egg hunt”, parents were told at registration – and it was also announced on the PA system – that the plastic eggs are empty. “Whether they pick up only one, or a dozen, eggs – they redeem them for one bag of candy. Each of the participants gets the same amount,” Becker explained.

At 11:20 am a helicopter did appear in the sky, approaching the park from the southwest. It circled overhead – and then, as promised, released orange plastic eggs, to rain down in the “drop zone”. Your reporter can reveal that being hit by a falling egg didn’t hurt; it felt like a gentle tap on the shoulder.

It didn’t take long for the eager children to scoop up these eggs and head off to the “candy store” to redeem them for their bag of sweets.

While watching the smiling parents, Becker observed, “We’re trying to bring hope, wonder, and dignity, in all different facets, to the community. This special egg hunt, with a helicopter flying overhead and dropping thousands of eggs, creates that – even for most adults.”

Learn more about HopeCity Church by visiting their Internet website:

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