10th annual special needs Easter Egg Hunt

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Many people may take for granted the activities made available at Easter time. One such event is Easter egg hunts. While many wouldn’t think twice about an Easter egg hunt, those with special needs may need special accommodations to enjoy the fun.

Kathy Smith is hosting an Easter Egg hunt for special needs individuals.Karen Holladay and Kami Olmstead founded this event 10 years ago to provide the community with an opportunity that wasn’t available at the time: an Easter egg hunt strictly for special needs. Smith will be in charge of the event this year. “These two founders passed along the baton to someone who would honor its purpose, and that’s what I plan to do,” Smith said.

For a while, it looked like the hunt wouldn’t continue when Holladay and Olmstead had to discontinue hosting. Smith said, “If it wasn’t for Jenni Heath bringing to our attention that the Easter Egg Hunt may not continue, I would never have been able to be involved in this, nor would it have continued. Jenni’s daughter Kendall has enjoyed the past special needs hunts and was sad to see that it was potentially discontinued.”

Smith says she hasn’t done it all on her own, though, and thanks the many volunteers who have made the hunt possible. “Katrina Kerr has also been a huge help in collecting donations and being a drop off location for items.”

This event fulfills a need the Muscatine community may not have known it had. “The purpose of the event is to give special needs children and adults an experience that almost everyone gets to enjoy at Easter time. This event caters to their needs and, being the only ones allowed, makes it very rewarding for every participant.”

Hunt-goers may want to know what to expect before arriving. Smith says, “For the 10th annual celebration of this event, we will start out with the traditional egg hunt with thousands of donated candy-filled eggs and gifts.” But the fun won’t end after the Easter Egg Hunt. Many locals have volunteered their time or skills to make the event even more exciting.“Following the hunt there will be pony rides donated by a local business, Ponies R Us, LLC. All ages from children to adult will have the opportunity to ride or simply pet and enjoy the horses. In addition to the horses, Britt and Jason Goddard will be bringing multiple animals to enjoy. The Stampeding Clovers 4-H club will be volunteering as well,” said Smith.

Anyone with special needs is welcome to join. The facility and restrooms are wheelchair accessible. Smith asks attendees to pull up to the barn door for handicapped participants and then the vehicle will be guided to parking.

Smith is excited and honored to be involved with this important event. “Aside from the awesome donated gifts and candy, the absolute best part about this for me is how rewarding it is to be able to share our passion for people and animals with everyone involved. By strictly limiting attendance to special needs, this makes it a very fair event so that each and every participant can be honored.”

Anyone interested in volunteering may contact Kathy Smith at (563) 506-1829.