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Church holds egg hunt for those with special needs
Very Special Easter
Jason Race, 5, left, and Gracie Contreras, 12, play with eggs and feel through color rice on Saturday as part of Very Special Easter, hosted by the congregation of River Rocks Church. - photo by Kelly Whitmire

This weekend, a local church wanted to make Easter a good time for children with special needs.

On Saturday, the congregation at River Rocks Church hosted the first-ever Very Special Easter at the church at 1390 Weber Industrial Drive. Pastor Jeff Birmingham said the congregation and church staff wanted to have a unique event for those with special needs.

“The idea is we want to allow the families with special-needs children or special-needs adults to be able to engage and partake in an Easter egg hunt, as well as some other family fun activities,” Birmingham said.

To cater the event for the participants, Birmingham said there were several activities to take part in.

“We’ve got both an outdoor environment for those who have physical capabilities of accommodating that,” he said. “Inside, we have an [American Disabilities Act accessible egg hunt] for those with wheelchairs or walkers or that kind of thing … Then, we have some special sensory environments that are designed for children who can’t handle large groups.”

Birmingham said the idea for Very Special Easter came from an outreach event the church held last year at Fowler Park.

“One of the things that really touched my heart was a young lady who was blind,” he said. “She wasn’t able to compete with 200 kids, so we set up a really special, small Easter egg hunt for her. It was very clear the special needs community in Forsyth County is really lacking the opportunity for events like these.”

Christy Contreras attended the event with her daughter, Gracie, and said there had been a need in the community for an Easter event for those with special needs. 

“It’s been awesome,” Contreras said. “I read about it in the paper, and I thought it was a great idea because we’ve been to public Easter egg hunts before and kids just trample over each other trying to get the eggs. With her being in a wheelchair, she really had no chance of getting anything.”

Despite the egg hunts, activities and foods, Contreras said her daughter’s favorite part was just talking with other people at the event.

Contreras said she was thankful for the congregation getting the event up and running.

“I think it’s just wonderful,” she said. “I think they’re amazing for doing it. I’m glad that somebody’s really stepped up and done it, and I think they’ve done a great job.”

Birmingham said he was pleased with the event’s turnout and that the event was a blessing for all involved. 

“The day’s been fantastic,” Birmingham said. “When you see some of these children when they walk in and their joy and their excitement to be able to do this, and the family … knowing that the kids are going to be safe in an environment that really meets their needs, it’s been priceless. We had a fantastic turnout, and I think the families and kids have been blessed, but more so everyone here serving has been blessed.”