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‘Egg factory’ cranks into high gear

In a little corner of a little church in the little town of Driver, a handful of volunteers quietly churns out thousands of candy eggs to help celebrate the Easter season.

“We used to count them, but we can’t do it anymore because it’s such a big project,” said Carole Clarke, head of the Easter egg factory at Beech Grove United Methodist Church.

The church has been making candy eggs for more than 30 years now, though none of the volunteers remembers exactly how long. The eggs are sold to raise funds for missions and various other church projects.

Volunteers converge on the church for 12 hours a day, six days a week, during the weeks leading up to Easter. This year, orders are being accepted through March 20, and they can be picked up through March 26.

Eggs come in one-pound and half-pound sizes (sold singly) and one-ounce sizes (sold by the dozen). The four tempting flavors include peanut butter, butter cream, coconut and fruit and nut.

The eggs have become so popular that orders now come in from around the world. Boxes of eggs have been shipped all over the world. The eggs also have been a blessing to military personnel around the world, as boxes have been shipped to American aircraft carriers and to Bosnia.

“It’s good fellowship, and it goes for good causes,” said Jean Devers, an 11-year volunteer at the Easter egg factory. “It’s a good thing for the new people to do, because you get to know people by coming.”

Several non-members even volunteer in the factory, and volunteer Paul Smith said the church has even attracted new members through the Easter egg ministry.

“We have some dedicated people that help out,” Clarke said. “The young people even come when they don’t have school.”

The volunteers make their own egg fillings, using about three tons of sugar throughout the entire project. The fillings are mixed with an industrial mixer in the factory’s kitchen, and then rolled into egg shapes by a group of volunteers around a long table. The eggs then go to the “Dippin’ Den,” where more than a ton of chocolate will be used throughout the project to cover the flavored eggs.

The eggs then are refrigerated overnight and decorated with color-coded flowers — yellow for peanut butter, white for coconut, blue for butter cream and pink for fruit and nut.

As a final step, the eggs are boxed up and await their final destination on shelves and tables. Orders come in by phone, fax, email and walk-ins, and the team fills every one of them.

“I think the reason all of us do it is for the fellowship,” Smith said. “We get to know everybody, and it makes our church unique. I don’t think there’s anybody in the church that doesn’t help.”

Clarke said the volunteers are very dedicated, sometimes driving from other cities and staying as long as needed to fill the orders.

“We used to stay until 11:30 and 12, but we got a little smarter,” Clarke said.

Despite all the work, it is for a good cause, Clarke said.

“I don’t think it would be so successful if the Lord didn’t want us to do it.”

To order eggs, call 538-8353 or email beechgroveumc@charterinternet.com. One-pound eggs are $10, half-pound eggs are $5, and one-ounce eggs are $7 per dozen, which can be ordered in any combination of flavors.