Flapjacks fuel fundraiser

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Pancakes, flapjacks, hotcakes, batter cakes, griddle cakes – no matter what these flat, round delectables are called, they do a lot of good.

In Paris, the benefit extends beyond a hearty breakfast all the way to college and other worthwhile endeavors. The annual Kiwanis Club Pancake and Sausage Breakfast starting the downtown Honeybee Festival is the club’s major fundraiser for the year and helps the club to not only provide $6,000 in scholarships to Paris High School graduates but also to assist with a variety of other community projects.

“We give 100 percent back,” said Kiwanis member Bruce Young, adding a future project is helping fund a room in the planned new building for the Human Resources Center of Edgar and Clark Counties adjacent to Horizon Health.

Drew Griffith, another Kiwanis member, explained providing scholarships is the main goal of fundraising but the Kiwanis Club supports numerous other community activities.

“I hestitate to mention them all or fear I would leave something out,” said Griffith.

While most people are familiar with the Kiwanis pancake tent on the north side of the square, the club’s use of pancakes as a fundraising tool predates the Honeybee Festival by at least two decades.

John Carrington has been a Kiwanis member since 1992. He said older club members told him the pancake meals go back as far as the 1950s and were done in the building on Main Street that now houses the Goodwill Store. In the ’50s, the building was the site of The Hangar – a space for Paris youth.

The popularity of the event prompted the club to acquire a large griddle with a rotating cooking surface. Carrington was not sure when or where the unique device was obtained but it has remained in service since sometime in the 1950s. It is a unique feature of the Kiwanis pancake breakfast for its rotating griddle giving it the unique ability to continually and quickly cook pancakes.

Carrington said the Kiwanis briefly did an Election Day Pancake Breakfast at the Knights of Columbus Hall, but it fell by the wayside in favor of the Honeybee Festival.

“I’ve never done anywhere except here,” Carrington said Friday morning from the tent on the north side of the Paris square.

He managed to get a few comments in between his duties as the chief batter mixer.

The popularity of the pancake breakfast remains a constant. Club members said they consistently serve more than 1,000 people each year.

Griffith said the Kiwanis Club members cook and serve the pancakes but non-members also help by providing trailers to move equipment and hold necessary supplies, donating items, trash receptacles and other services.

“A lot of people help us,” said Griffth.

Setting up and serving the pancakes for two days requires a lot of work and while all the money remains local, it is consistent with the Kiwanis’ mission.

“Serving the children of the world is the club’s motto, and that’s what we do,” said Young.

Service at the pancake tent continues today from 6 a.m.-1 p.m.