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Music students channel holiday spirit by packing Easter eggs for low-income families in Cumming

 
POSTED: April 16, 2017 9:22 a.m.
Micah Green/

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More than 150 Forsyth County children who may not have otherwise had an Easter like their peers will now be treated to an egg hunt, thanks to a local mom who recently hatched a plan to provide low-income families with the plastic toys.

For the last week, teens and adults associated with Music Authority, a retail shop and music school in Cumming, have spent their evenings filling about 5,000 plastic eggs with candy to accompany a local nonprofit’s Easter meal delivery.

Meals by Grace, a charity based out of Forsyth County, provides hot meals to food-insecure families in the county, offering a home delivery program and a monthly mobile pantry to low-income residents.

Volunteers distributed the meals, along with the eggs, to households on Saturday so families could spend Easter worry-free, said Rachele Lahr, the project’s organizer.

Lahr, the mother of a Music Authority band member, said the idea stemmed from work she has done with Meals by Grace.

“I got involved with Meals by Grace for a bit, just by going to events,” she said. “They had a Christmas event where they had [collection] boxes that had pencils and other small practical stuff, but not really anything a kid would want for Christmas. I took those boxes into work and said to coworkers, ‘Pretend you’re shopping for kid for Christmas, what would they like?’

“That got me thinking — because Meals by Grace is working with people with food insecurity, kids probably won’t get a lot for Easter and it’s just a small treat for kids to hunt for eggs.”

Lahr said she realized she couldn’t fill thousands of eggs by herself, which is why she reached out to Music Authority.

“My daughter is in showcase bands and I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be a cool opportunity for all bands to get together as bands and help someone else out?’” she said. “I approached Melissa [with Music Authority] and she said go for it.

“I thought we could make it fun and a competition of sorts between bands — kids are highly competitive.”

The response was overwhelming.

Lehr said she initially expected each band to fill about 300-500 eggs, estimating a maximum of 3,500 candy-filled toys.

But the seven groups — five youth bands, a choir and an adult band — exceeded that number by 1,500.

“We’re using 4,000 for Meals by Grace, which equals 160 bags of 25 eggs a piece,” said Melissa Loggins, an instructor at Music Authority. “We split up what was left, with some going to Jesse’s House, some going to the boy’s [Bald Ridge] Lodge, possibly some to CASA and whatever is left is going to Next Generation Focus.”

Lahr said she thought the 25 eggs per child was a realistic number.

“That’s a lot of Easter eggs – when I was young, I didn’t get 25,” she said. “But the kids were fantastic and they just totally overwhelmed me, surpassing everything I thought was going to happen. I’m floored by the generosity of our kids and parents.

“If this is something we can keep doing, we definitely will. I know it was Melissa’s vision to have the bands participate in community and it’s a wonderful experience to help out and understand what kids their age and in their community are going through. It just puts new perspective on things.”

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