Secret Easter Egg Drop
By Jennifer Ersalesi
Photo credits: Recreation Facebook posts
On Saturday, April 3rd, Secret Bunnies scattered up and down the streets of Rutherford to hide eggs for excited children throughout the Borough. This brand new Recreation event, The Secret Bunny Egg Drop, drew the community together in a safe, surprising, and exciting way. TIR spoke with Ginny Coleman, head of the Recreation Volunteer Committee, and Recreation Director, Jessica Lezcano, about this special event.
TIR: Where did the idea for the Secret Bunny Easter Egg Drop come from?
Ginny Coleman: Jessica Lezcano, Rutherford Recreation Director. After last year’s hunt was canceled and things still aren’t safe to hold in-person again this year, it was a way to bring the community together without being in one place.
Jessica Lezcano: The Mayor, Business Administrator and I were discussing how to celebrate the season in a fun and engaging way that would allow our town to safely have the spirit of an Egg Hunt without crowds and potential exposures. That was the "spring" board into the conversation....see what I did there (laughs). The Borough Administrator made mention of this type of "egging" or "egg drop" that was being done in other towns, where some towns used it as fundraisers for specialized groups and we landed on doing a town-wide free egg drop! Knowing that this event can only work if we had people power, the Mayor suggested we reach out to Ginny, head of the Volunteer Committee, to see how we could make this event a reality. Ginny’s exact quote, "Would love to do this! YES! YES!" And I knew this event was going to work!
TIR: How was this all organized? Who assisted with the process?
GC: All the Recreation Department staff, Borough of Rutherford, Council members, and Rutherford Volunteer Team members. Jessica and the Recreation Department oversaw the family sign-ups, Peter Cottontail’s visit, and provided the plastic eggs. The Volunteer Team oversaw the recruitment of Secret Bunnies, house assignments, and sorting of eggs. With Google maps, the Volunteer Team assigned between one to seven addresses to individual secret bunnies, within the same geographical area. The eggs were sorted, twenty per bag, and organized for the Recreation Department to distribute.
The Recreation Department and I shared the assignment list, so we could keep tabs on who needed to pick up and who had already. Detailed instructions were emailed to the bunnies regarding egg pick up, hiding times, Covid regulations, and such.
JL: We worked through the details of how to make this event successful. First, the hard variables of 3000 colorful plastic eggs, to figure out how many homes we would be able to accommodate with how many eggs. Then after a little math, we figured that 20 eggs per home would allow us to Egg Drop at 150 homes. Not to overwhelm our volunteers, we worked with Borough Communications Manager, Kim Bogosian, to create a volunteer sign-up form. Volunteer bunnies needed to commit to delivering eggs to two to five homes in town. Hosting any activity during a pandemic is challenging in creating guidelines to keep everyone as safe as we can, so we asked the volunteer bunnies to hide eggs early in the morning and reminded participating homes that if they see the bunnies not to "peek". This was one way we tried to eliminate exposures. Then we had to set parameters on which residents would have the most enjoyment in this type of event. We shared all the details with our Police and Health departments to ensure that we were creating a safe event. We had asked all participating families to share photos with us RecStaff@rutherfordboronj.com and we shared their photos on our social media accounts. This way everyone was able to share in the joy of the event!
TIR: How many people volunteered to be Secret bunnies?
GC: We had over 40 Secret Bunnies! We recruited online asked people to sign-up via a Google doc. Volunteers came from RHS Interact Club, Scouts BSA Troops 166B & 166G, parents, grandparents, and many other community members! With the changing seasons and pandemic fatigue, it’s important that we still exercise caution as we resume activities and celebrations. I felt that this was an excellent opportunity to feel connected to people, do something positive, add to community spirit but with proper sanitation and distance.
JL: We had connected with the Rutherford High School community service clubs, Bonnie Donnell, and Ronald A. Gray, Ph.D., Felician University students. Of course, we had all the fantastic volunteers from Rutherford Volunteer Committee!
TIR: What did the Secret Bunnies have to do?
GC: After picking up their allotted number of eggs, Secret Bunnies had to scatter them in the open or hide the eggs on the front lawns, porches, steps, front planting beds of the address provided, between 7:00 and 9:00 am on Saturday 4/3. Bunnies were asked to sanitize hands and wear masks while handling the plastic eggs.
JL: Secret bunnies had to agree to deliver eggs to homes on Saturday morning, follow NJ Department of Health guidelines, pick up eggs at Borough Hall, and hide the eggs on the registered homes on Saturday morning.
TIR: How did families sign up for a visit from the Secret bunnies?
JL: We shared the info on our Recreation social media, and the Borough webpage on how to register on community pass.
TIR: The families who participated were super excited and grateful. How do you feel after organizing such a successful event?
GC: Awesome!! I was watching the Rutherford Recreation Facebook posts, loving the smiles! A few Secret Bunnies shared photos of themselves hiding eggs and I felt proud to be part of it!
One person shared, “Thanks again for including us as volunteers! We had so much fun hiding eggs and my kids then had fun finding the eggs hidden at our house by another secret bunny. Thanks so much for organizing!”
JL: It was incredibly successful! It was a true testament to the spirit of Rutherford, having us all work together to participate in a fun activity that connected us to our neighbors!
TIR: How can residents volunteer to assist with upcoming activities and events?
GC: The Volunteer Team is recruiting for more community-wide activities! You can be part of the crew too! Click here to access the form to sign up to be part of the Volunteer Team.
JL: We are continuously looking for ways to connect our community especially now more than ever in safe and engaging ways. During this time many of our neighbors have felt isolated, but connecting everyone is so important and will only be possible with the support of our volunteers. We are so grateful to everyone who participated!