This year’s NorthShore Health Centers Easter Eggstravaganza was bigger and better than ever. NorthShore turned Saturday afternoon into a holiday festival with hidden eggs, face painting, and special character guests.
Over 750 people attended the event held at the Portage Boys & Girls Club. The line of neighborhood kid eager to get in stretched down the sidewalk and circled the parking lot. The first 100 children got a free Easter Basket full of goodies.
“We wanted to do something for the community that is not just 'come here and collect candy',” said Denise Carpenter, Lead Community Outreach Coordinator for NorthShore. “We’re allowing ourselves to educate and have a good time. We have a lot of different activities going on.”
Kids could choose out of half a dozen bounce houses and games. Their parents browsed vendor booths for preschool, healthcare, and insurance resources. Characters from popular TV shows and movies - like Elsa Belle and officers from Paw Patrol - roamed the crowd taking pictures and giving hugs.
“We’re a healthcare center so we know that there are a lot of issues people face,” said Gervay Dickerson, Lead Event Coordinator for NorthShore. “We wanted to find a way to encompass it all- free fun, making memories with their family, and getting their resources taken care of. It’s a great way to bring in community sponsors, and to show the people who NorthShore is and what we do.”
The Portage Police Department set up a booth to make ID kits with the children. South Haven Fire Department also brought their Smokehouse to simulate what to do in a fire, and parked it alongside impressive red firetrucks from the Portage Fire Department.
“My son loves firetrucks,” said mother Lindsey Crane. “It is so cool he got to do this. We’ve been to a lot of NorthShore events like this one and they are always so fun and generous. NorthShore really looks out for the community.”
That is what it is all about: meeting the needs of the community. Every vendor is in on it. Student Elizabeth Baggett was there from the Nursing School of Valparaiso University to check people's BMI.
“Easter, like most holidays, is a lot of chocolate and eating so it's a good time to remind people to also exercise as much as you're eating,” she said. “This is a good place to reach out to the community because [NorthShore] has made a place where people can gather with their families.”
The annual NorthShore Easter Eggstravaganza knows the importance of having fun and getting exercise. Families could do both at the end of the afternoon in a hunt for 10,000 candy packed eggs.