Community comes together to support local non-profit’s pancake fundraiser

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — A local non-profit’s bi-annual pancake breakfast is a community effort. Just before 7 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 3, it was still dark outside but Easterseals West Georgia Inc. volunteers had already been hard at work for hours.

They were working to stock the kitchen, pack up to-go orders and put up last-minute decorations. In the two months leading up to the pancake breakfast, roughly 200 to-go orders were placed, according to Easterseals of West Georgia Vice President of Management and Development Michael Willey. Thirty of them were already going out the door.

“[We] probably have about eight or nine [volunteers] here right now,” said Willey, who had been there since 5 a.m. and was busy making sure everything was running smoothly before doors opened.

He added that there were more volunteers and Easterseals board members manning the event this time than they have had in the past.

New USO Center opens at Fort Moore for military members and families

Families of children receiving disability services and support from Easterseals volunteered, too. Cousins, aunts, uncles, moms and dads worked to flip pancakes and greet the first breakfast arrivals. They all wore smiles.

It cost $5 to get unlimited pancakes, sausage, coffee and juice at the event. The vast majority of that $5 goes directly back to supporting Easterseals programs supporting children and adults with disabilities, since putting on the event is largely supported through community donations.

Juice, sausage, milk, napkins and disposable utensils are all donated by local Burger King franchise owners. Pancakes are made in-house by volunteers and Easterseals board members using a mix from US Foods which Easterseals has “found that everybody likes,” according to Willey.

  • Easterseals West Georgia Inc. CEO Lakisha Taylor preps pancakes for to-go orders. (Olivia Yepez)
    Easterseals West Georgia Inc. CEO Lakisha Taylor preps pancakes for to-go orders. (Olivia Yepez)
  • Volunteers were working before the sun was up to get ready for the pancake breakfast. (Olivia Yepez)
    Volunteers were working before the sun was up to get ready for the pancake breakfast. (Olivia Yepez)
  • A volunteer flips pancakes to fill hundreds of orders. (Olivia Yepez)
    A volunteer flips pancakes to fill hundreds of orders. (Olivia Yepez)
  • For $5 guests could get unlimited pancakes, sausage, juice and coffee. (Olivia Yepez)
    For $5 guests could get unlimited pancakes, sausage, juice and coffee. (Olivia Yepez)

That mix is low-cost too since it only needs to be mixed with water and doesn’t require eggs or milk to create fluffy pancakes. The simplicity also helps keep up a constant stream of pancakes to serve the numerous breakfast guests which come out each year.

Willey and his fellow volunteers estimated they would serve roughly 400 guests in-house across the event, which ran from 7 to 11 a.m.

“That doesn’t sound like a lot but it is,” Willey said. He added sometimes guests show up and pay to take additional meals to-go for friends and family.

Women-owned, veteran-owned non-profit gym hosts grand opening celebration

Less than an hour after doors opened, a steady stream of guests had already come in. Easterseals of West Georgia CEO Lakisha Taylor explained this is one of her favorite opportunities to connect with the community and let them know about Easterseals’ services.

“It’s extremely exciting and also very fast paced. We have to definitely be on our toes on the to-go line – we have a lot of orders,” Taylor said.

She had been working on packing to-go orders since 6:30 a.m. and was extremely grateful for the community support.

Easterseals of West Georgia Marketing Coordinator and Grant Manager Madison Jones said she was most excited to see funds go toward supporting field trips for Easterseals pre-k program and recently-added autism services.

More opportunities to interact with and donate to Easterseals of West Georgia will be available in the coming months. The nonprofit will host its annual “Walk With Me” event on March 16 and its annual golf tournament on April 19.

For more information about Easterseals’ services and upcoming events, visit the nonprofit’s website.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to WRBL.