By Jill Fox
Preparations are underway for the third annual “Egg My House” neighborhood event supporting the Gina Rose Montalto Memorial Foundation.
The event was created in honor of Gina Rose, the 14-year-old victim of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, who loved children and the thrill of the hunt on Easter morning.
“There’s something about it that’s bright and charismatic, and there’s something about Easter,” said co-organizer Nicole Smeltzer.
On Wednesday, March 11, Gina’s mother, Jennifer Montalto, held a volunteer appreciation event for last year’s participants to thank them for their hard work and dedication.
“Jennifer wanted to thank everyone involved for the support personally,” said Catherine Walker, volunteer organizer.
In addition to light refreshments, Jennifer gave out tokens of appreciation from the Foundation, and several families even brought plastic eggs and candy donations for this year’s event, which Jennifer believes should continue to grow as it has in the past.
Items such as plastic egg containers, non-chocolate candies, and baby powder for Easter Bunny footprints are needed for the annual “Egging,” which will take place on the evening of Saturday, April 11.
In 2019, volunteer bunnies hopped to 200 homes in the area, with Parkland Isles and Heron Bay having the most participation.
According to Jennifer, more people are finding out about it, more are excited to help, and more communities have people who want to get involved.
“People have been asking for the event rather than us introducing it, saying what can I do, how can I help– it’s fantastic,” said Walker, who explained those who don’t have children can buy eggs for their neighbors, the library, or even the fire department. “It’s a nice way to spread the love.”
Last year, over $3,000 was raised for the Gina Rose Montalto Memorial Foundation. Organizers include Jennifer’s close friends, Nicole Smeltzer, Catherine Walker, Tracy McQueen, and Kara Cobb, who will assign team leaders for each neighborhood to orchestrate egg runners and drivers coordinating supplies and delivery.
Many volunteers are needed, including teams of egg stuffers, runners, drivers, and service hours, will be generously allocated.
With each donation, volunteer Easter bunnies will deliver and hide candy-filled plastic eggs in residents’ yards the evening before Easter. They will also leave a sign on the lawn to let neighbors know of every family’s generous support to the Foundation. The cost for your house to be “egged” is $25 for 30 eggs or $50 for 60 eggs. To sign up, visit ginarosemontaltomemorialfoundation.org/eggmylawn.
- Jill Fox is an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer. She has worked on the public relations side as well as the television side of marketing for NBC Universal. A true Floridian, Fox grew up in Ormond Beach and now resides in Parkland with her husband, Brian and their two children, Madden, 10 and Randi, 7.