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Easter activities for all

Easter is approaching, and folks in Harlan County have a choice of activities for the little ones and others to take part in to celebrate the holiday.

The 36th Annual Tri-City Empty Stocking Fund Easter Egg Hunt is scheduled for March 31 at 10:30 a.m. at the Tri-Cities Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Cumberland.

This year’s Easter Egg Hunt is being held in memory of Jim “Muggins” Bennett, the founder of the Empty Stocking Fund. Bennett passed away at the age of 77 several months ago.

According to a previous report, many are familiar with Bennett’s Empty Stocking Fund, a charitable function he started in 1980 after he was laid off from his job at a coal mine. The Empty Stocking Fund was established to help needy families at Christmas and now serves over 600 families in the Harlan County area. Families are given a large box of food items, and each family receives gifts for their children. Bennett hosted the Tri-City Easter Egg Hunt for approximately 35 years, an annual event participated in by hundreds of people each year.

Bennett talked about the origins of the hunt in an interview with the Enterprise in 2016, stating his first hunt was in 1982 with only 10 dozen eggs for the children to hunt. The first year of the egg hunt, there was only one prize available.

“It was a $25 savings bond donated by the former Harlan County Sheriff, the late Paul Browning,” Bennett said.

Since Muggins passed away, Jeff and Linda Sim along with Muggins’ wife Naomi Bennett have been putting in the effort to keep the project going. Jeff and Linda Sim are the directors of Heritage Ministries Incorporated. Muggins had asked them to carry on the Tri-City Stocking Fund.

Linda Sim mentioned many of the children that took part in the first hunts more than 30 years ago now have children of their own, and she would like to see them all at this year’s hunt.

Participants are asked to park at the clinic and not on the side of the road so children can enter and exit vehicles safely.

For those closer to the city of Harlan, Hilltop Ministry will host an Easter egg hunt at 4 p.m. on March 31 at James A. Cawood Elementary School, weather permitting. In the case of rain, the event will be moved to April 1 at 4 p.m. Participants need to bring their Easter baskets.

Anybody who would like to help out those suffering from domestic violence as well as procuring a picture with the elusive Easter Bunny, The Harlan County Domestic Violence Council will host photos with the Easter Bunny from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Don’s Super Saver on March 31. A 5×7 photo is $10 (printed while you wait/shop). All ages are welcome. All proceeds will be used locally to provide emergency services for victims of domestic violence.

Harlan Health & Rehabilitation Center will be having their annual Easter egg hunt at 1 p.m. on March 31. All children 12 and under are invited to attend. There will be drawings for prizes and the Easter Bunny will be there for pictures.

Rounding out the activities, Kingdom Come State Park in Cumberland will host an Easter Egg Hunt at 3 p.m. on April 1 at the shelter area for ages 10 and under. There will also be prizes, games and activities for children.