NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - The trails were stocked with approximately 4,000 decorated hard boiled eggs for several hundred children to gather at the New Providence Lions 48th Annual Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday at Oakwood Park.

Families, with their strollers, flocked to Oakwood Park in time to greet the Easter Bunny who arrived in style in a red convertible to spend time with each child while parents snapped photos. The New Providence Fire Department and Rescue Squad also had their big rig and ambulance on site and open to tour.

After several days of rain and drizzle, the sunshine and bright blue sky were a welcome sight!

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"We had a few gusts of wind, other than that, it's been perfect," said Andre Luboff, Easter Egg Hunt Chairperson. "We were concerned on Friday, because it was set up day. We were concerned about the wetness -- it drizzled a little, but it was workable. The wind dried up the grounds."

The children all had their Easter baskets in hand and were ready for the 9:30 a.m. start of the egg hunt with the hopes of finding the treasured golden and silver eggs that would award the winner with a large chocolate bunny.

As with any event the New Providence Lions are involved with, it's a community affair. And in their 48th year of planning the Egg Hunt, each Lion receives as much joy as the children participating. 

Each member was responsible for four dozen eggs to bring to the PACA Club, where they cooked and decorated approximately 4,000 eggs. Even the residents at Lantern Hill got in the action, and contributed by decorating approximately 10 dozen eggs. 

When preparing for the event, the Lions knew the entire community could show up and made sure there were enough eggs for all children to get a few. The trails were marked by age group and the Lions were sure to keep their pockets full of extra eggs to conveniently drop to keep the youngest of participants happy in finding an extra surprise.

There was a time we only had 10 people, but now we have over 70 [members], said Walter Sieling, a long-time Lions Club member. Over the past five to six years, the Lions Club has seen a remarkable growth in membership. "You run things and they are successful, and people like that," said Mayor Al Morgan. "People want to do something to give back to the community."  Linda Kale added, "Socially... we are like a family and it's great networking. We use each others' services. Our members want to do something good for the community."

The Lions have a standard set of events they plan every year in addition to the annual Easter Egg Hunt, which include the upcoming Frank Pizzi Memorial Golf Outing, Pancake Breakfast and 50/50 raffle drawing. "We are trying to increase our performance as to what we can do in terms of bringing money in so we can push it back out," said New Providence Lions Club President John Everitt. "We are stepping it up -- we need to keep the members busy and engaged. You have to keep the activities going." Everitt has also seen growth in improving their partnerships with organizations like the New Providence Community Service Association (CSA). 

The New Providence Lions Club meets bi-monthly at Chimney Rock Inn in Gillette. Visit the New Providence Lions Club website to learn more about becoming a member, volunteer opportunities, annual events and organizations they support.