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Meet Me at the Court's Easter Eggs-travaganza this weekend

Volunteers to hand out Easter, fruit baskets, food plates by Tia Lyons | March 31, 2022 at 12:00 a.m.

Local residents may be getting a surprise visit and holiday gifts from someone other than the Easter bunny when the eighth annual Sharion Bailey Whitlock Proclamation and Birthday Weekend/Easter Egg Hunt Eggs-travaganza kicks off this weekend.

As with the 2021 event, this year's Eggs-travaganza will be modified due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), organizer Veronica Bailey said.

For the first five years, the event, which is free and open to the public, was typically spread over two days and chock-full of family-friendly activities -- including gatherings with food, games, motorcycle rides, giant inflatables, a large Easter egg hunt with prizes and more. Activities were centered on the basketball court on Lester Street between Columbia and Ouachita avenues in the St. Louis neighborhood.

The event was put on hold in 2020 and revised in 2021.

"Due to the pandemic, safety is our number one priority. I love the Easter egg hunt. The participation was just 100%," Bailey said. "But due to safety concerns, we wanted to take precautions. My son (James Curley) came up with a different way to do it."

Curley's idea was to fan out in neighborhoods throughout the city and deliver Easter baskets to girls and boys.

"We just go to each neighborhood, not any one in particular. We just ride around until we see children," Bailey said.

She recounted one instance last year in which organizers passed a group of local children who were walking.

"We stopped right there on the spot and started giving out Easter baskets," Bailey said.

"One little girl just started hollering. She was so happy she was getting an Easter basket," Bailey continued. "Me and one of my team captains who was assisting -- Brenda Stanley --, that just warmed our hearts to see her so happy."

Deliveries extended beyond city limits and into some parts of Union County.

"Last year, we went to Old Union and we added some other areas and it was just a great experience," Bailey said.

She added that organizers are planning to do the same with this year's event, which is being presented by Meet Me at the Court, The Bailey Family and the Sugar Town Riders, El Dorado chapter, of which Curley serves as president.

Free, community Easter basket deliveries will begin at 5 p.m. Friday.

Bailey said three rooms in her house are filled to the bursting with Easter baskets that will be distributed, accordingly, to children and young adults, ages 1 to 18.

"We used to have the big Easter egg hunt and we had up to 100 or more children that would participate in four different age divisions for infants and toddlers, all the way up to teens," Bailey said.

"The baskets have items for girls and boys and different ages. Wherever children are, we just stop and give them out. That's how we're able to get so many children," she added.

On Saturday, organizers will set out at 3 p.m. to continue Easter basket deliveries and begin distributing fruit baskets to senior citizens.

The event will roll on at 3 p.m. Sunday, this time with free food deliveries.

Bailey said organizers will traverse the community to hand out BBQ plates. The food will be prepared by Mr. D's Grill and Catering.

Sunday also marks the birthday of the event's namesake. Whitlock, Bailey's sister, passed away in 2012 at the age of 51 following an illness.

Whitlock's family formed Meet Me at the Court, which focuses on youth, and hosts a variety of free, community events to honor Whitlock and carry her work with causes she cared about, including mentoring/working with children, education and feeding the community.

A community Thanksgiving dinner, school supply and holiday giveaways and a scholarship fund are some of the activities the group undertakes each year.

"She started all of this and every year, I like to plan the Eggs-travaganza the first weekend in April, close to her birthday," Bailey said.

For more information, call Bailey at 870-310 0391 or Curley at 870-310-0745,

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