William Jones wants to give back to the community that gave him a home. For the fifth year in a row, he's hosting an Easter egg hunt for children living in the impoverished Westside neighborhood, the location of three public housing sites, including the city's largest and oldest, College Hill Courts.
The egg hunt is being held Sunday, April 1 from 2-3 p.m. at the Westside Park baseball field at 1195 Grove St.
One lucky participant will find a golden egg, which contains a cash prize, and the boy and girl who find the most eggs will each receive a large Easter basket with toys and candy.
In addition to the egg hunt, there will be free food and a small petting zoo. In past years, Jones has brought baby chickens and rabbits to fit the Easter theme.
Though the city of Chattanooga sponsors the event by providing some of the candy and prizes, the hunt is run entirely by Jones, a 27-year-old rap and hip-hop artist who performs under the name Coogi Doogi.
Jones grew up in East Chattanooga, but when the Harriet Tubman public housing development there was demolished in 2014, he found a community in the Westside, where several members of his family lived.
"When I was little I didn't have much, so now I'm trying to give back," said Jones.
He has given back to the children in the neighborhood since he was in high school, hosting a haunted house for Halloween or organizing basketball tournaments. He started the Easter egg hunt in 2014.
"I'm just trying to bring peace and positivity to the kids," Jones said.
He notes that there are other egg hunts in the city — Coolidge Park, for example, hides 100,000 eggs — but he wants to give children something to look forward to in a community that often doesn't see the luxuries other communities have, he said.