Klamath County Department of Human Services turned 18 foster families’ yards into their own Easter egg hunting grounds in an effort to still help foster families celebrate Easter after social distancing guidelines led to the agency canceling the big egg hunt it had planned for the families at Triad School.
Instead, on Friday teams traveled across the county from Klamath Falls to Chiloquin to Keno to Bonanza to ensure foster kids still got to bust open eggs to find candy and other treats inside.
The Easter bunny also got in on Friday’s hunting, traveling to the houses in the “Bunny Mobile” — a minivan decked out with window paint to help hide eggs.
The Blythe family’s backyard was covered in eggs and other Easter decorations Friday morning while the five kids went hunting.
Mom, Danae Blythe, said the kids had a great time and that, although they were bummed when the big hunt was cancelled, the more intimate family activity might’ve been even better.
“It was kind of a bummer that the big one was canceled, but the way that they came and decorated the yard and put eggs in the backyard, that almost made it better because it was like a personal family event, you know, rather than having kind of a lot of kids at one time and getting trampled and stuff, but this way it, it made it a personal event, which I really appreciated,” she said.
Although the Easter bunny kept its distance from the kids, they did get a picture with the bunny before he left to surprise another family.
Blythe said she thinks her son, Bret, 8, probably had the best time due to his competitive personality and his race to find the eggs before his sisters did.
Blythe said she hopes fun events like this will help encourage more people to become foster families when they see the way those who work at DHS get to know the families and make them feel special.
“I’m always amazed by them with all the events that they put on, and it really shows how much they care, not just for the kids, but also the families that do it,” Blythe said. “And they make us feel like we’re valued and important, and it keeps my husband and I continuing to do foster care, because we know we do have kind of that backup support.”
Organizer Anna Dolivo said the department hid 2,000 eggs amongst the houses they visited Friday and that some of the eggs had golden tickets in them for larger prizes than candy.
This was DHS’s first year doing an Easter egg hunt for Klamath County foster families and they were able to make it happen with the money raised from their Christmas “Breakfast with the Grinch” event that sold out in December.
Dolivo agreed with Blythe that the egg hunts at the families’ houses ended up being even more fun that the big event originally scheduled to take place at Triad School.
“This is almost even more fun than the big one we were going to do because we come to you,” Dolivo said.
Blythe said her family always loves to participate in the events the department hosts and they plan to continue to be involved in all of the family fun.
“They turn themselves into friends, and not just people that, you know, have these cases. All my kids know them and they’re not scary, you know, they make them to where they are just friends and normal people that love and care about these kids and want to make sure that they have these little events to make them feel special,” she said.
Blythe said even after the foster program team left, the kids were still finding eggs and probably will be for a while.