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Easter came early for children at the High Springs Day Care Center. The Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe regularly visits the children and on this occasion provided Easter treats and gift baskets to each child.

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HIGH SPRINGS – Children at the High Springs Day Care Center were thrilled on Wednesday, March 21, as the Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe showed up with specially made Easter treats and had planned a hunt –– but not for Easter eggs.

The children were treated to special sweet treats made by Kiwanis Club President Linda Rice Chapman. She created an imaginative treat appropriate to the Easter bunny theme. “The children were delighted with their Easter treats. It was a big hit,” said Kiwanis Event Organizer Carole Fernandez. Each treat was made to look like a small car with pink, purple or yellow bunnies at the wheel. Tires were made from Oreo cookies. The body of each car was a long cream-filled cake. The bunnies were marshmallow and the steering wheel was a pretzel covered in chocolate with multi-colored sprinkles. Fruit juice rounded out the Easter party menu.

Following snack time, each child was provided with a sticker shaped like a zebra, butterfly or egg. Individual Kiwanis Club members went outside with each child to help them hunt for and identify their specific pastel plastic Easter basket with a matching sticker to the one they had been given. The appropriate child’s name was also written on the back of each basket to guarantee that each child received the correct basket.

Instead of loading up each basket with candy, Fernandez did her best to match donated children’s books with each child’s interest and reading level.

Children also received crayons or other toys such as stuffed animals and small cars. Cookies, learning flash cards and a small amount of candy were also included in each basket.

“We just tried to include an assortment of different things in each basket and tailored them as best we could to each child’s interests,” said Fernandez.

Squeals of delight were heard as each child found their very own basket and saw what they had received. The children seemed to enjoy their gift baskets and showed off some of their items to their friends and teachers. “I think the Kiwanis Club members enjoyed this event as much as the children,” Fernandez said. “It was a fun day for adults and children.”

The High Springs Day Care Center primarily works with children from two to five years of age, although they also have children slightly older who are “after schoolers.” All were included in this event.

Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe, a local service organization with members from High Springs and Alachua, tries to do something special for the High Springs Day Care Center every month.

In the past, Fernandez has been responsible for children’s outings to the Alachua Splash Park, a Halloween carnival and a trip to Santa Fe College’s zoo, just to name a few.

“The children get so excited no matter what we do for them,” she said. “It’s a delight to work with them and expose them to places and events they may have never seen or done before.”

The Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe has spearheaded a campaign to request donations for new or gently used books for children of all ages. The books will be distributed to area children, given as rewards for achieving school goals and used to populate a lending library during the summer months at the Alachua Police Department substation in the Merrillwood neighborhood.

Kiwanis Club members are asking area residents to donate books that their children have outgrown to children who cannot afford to buy books of their own. Drop off points are Boukari Law, P.A./Alachua County Today Newspaper, 14804 Main Street, Alachua, and at Bev’s Burger Cafe on U.S. Highway 441 in High Springs.

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