Breaking News
More () »

Rathdrum hosts inclusive Easter egg hunt

Over 100 special needs children, young adults and their families gathered Saturday for the second inclusive Easter egg hunt.

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho — Sisters Iris and Lillian Porter attended their first egg hunt in three years on Saturday, as reported by our news partners, the Coeur d'Alene Press.

“I feel like I’m ready,” Lillian said as she waited patiently for the hunt to begin.

Over 100 special needs children, young adults, and their families gathered at Majestic Park in Rathdrum Saturday morning for Village Bakery’s second inclusive Easter egg hunt.

About 4,000 eggs were sprinkled throughout the park. When the Northern Lakes Fire Department air-horn blew, the mad dash to collect eggs commenced. But this dash was on the gentler side.

Mother Jen Porter said past Easter egg hunts were too rough and too loud for her girls, ages 8 and 9, who live with autism, ADHD and wear AFO braces on their legs to assist with hyper-mobility syndrome.

“Not all disabilities are visible,” Jen said. “But for those with a processing disorder, an overload of the sensory environment causes them to shut down.”

Jessica Bellefeuille, Wheelchair Idaho 2022 and daughter of the bakery’s owners, served as an ambassador for the event.

“We cannot wait for more of what this means for our community,” Jessica said. “Everything you guys have done today just by showing up is just a light and a beacon for our community. You are here for a purpose and a reason. That’s why I’m in a chair too, representing you, and the inclusivity of what it means to have a disability and to be in unity with one another.”

The Porter girls attend school at The Learning Garden in Post Falls. A private school for those with developmental disabilities, Jen said the inclusivity of that program has helped her daughters develop a real love for learning at a pace they can manage.

Their disabilities mean they need more time to process what's going on around them, Jen said.

The Village Bakery in Hayden has drawn together more than just the special needs community. Many of their employees and volunteers have disabilities, but bakery owners Dana and Todd Bellefeuille see only positives.

Nineteen-year-old LoriAnn Macklin works the cash register at the bakery every Saturday.

“It makes me happy to work there,” LoriAnn said. “It makes me joyful.”

Violet Hammond, better known as Vastra the Clown, was born and raised in Coeur d’Alene. She saw the egg hunt announced on Facebook and wanted to contribute. Dressed in bright colors, she delighted the audience with her repertoire of over 50 different balloon creatures.

Eric Kensbock, who runs North Idaho Giveaways and Scavenger Hunts on Facebook, helped coordinate the event. Stuffing all of the eggs with candy took more than 20 people several days to fill, he said.

The Coeur d'Alene Press is a KREM 2 News partner. For more news from our partners, click here.

Before You Leave, Check This Out