On the beat

Sunday is the day to care 

By Jim Bucher

As a result of the long line of Germans in my family tree, I was bombarded with German foods growing up. I never much cared for sauerkraut or bratwurst and when it came to German pancakes, well, forget about it.

My dad said I must be adopted.

When I Americanized my menu by taking the German out of the pancakes, which just left the pancakes, now you’re talking. My point is this: I love pancakes, my kids love pancakes, heck, even my French bulldog Ella has grown accustomed to a fluffy flapjack or two – and we’re not the only ones.

America loves pancakes, but it goes beyond our country. Heck, there’s even an International House of them. So, you can imagine how overjoyed I am over the return this Sunday, Feb. 23, of the annual Day of Caring Pancake Brunch event. It’s an awesome way to “get my fix,” and help out a great cause at the same time.

Always scheduled for the last Sunday in February, the brunches are held in many communities in the Dayton area and beyond. Since 1991, the Day of Caring has emphasized three things: raise money for the emergency shelter system and the hunger coalition, raise public awareness about the needs of the homeless and the hungry and encourage volunteerism through education and involvement.

It was the brainchild of Jan Venkayya as a way of honoring her generous mother. Her mom did anything and everything to help with food, clothing and shelter. If people were hurting, her mother was there. Steve Pax has been involved since the beginning.

“Our first pancake brunch involved 12 sites and raised $12,000,” Pax said. “This year we will have 40 sites participating in Dayton, Cincinnati and Richmond, [Ind.]”

At first, the dozen locations were mainly churches. This year, it’s expanded – and so has the menu. “This year is a multi-denominational event, and each location has contributed by creating their unique style for the day’s event,” Pax said. “The Hindu Temple Hall is serving Indian food, the Greek Orthodox Church is selling honey puffs, Lewisburg United Methodist creates a feast that extends the brunch into lunch, including ham.”

The common denominator, however,
is pancakes.

So far, the event has raised $650,000. Hopefully, another $35,000 will be contributed to the cause this year. Pax said the need continues.

“The issue of homelessness and hunger has grown in our area over the past 20 years, but the issue has become even more pronounced recently,” he said.

Unlike some organizations, every penny goes to help out.

“One hundred percent of all our ticket sales go to the needy in our local communities,” Pax explained. “Nothing goes to administrative costs or even the cost of the product, plus it all stays right here in our area.”

In Montgomery County, the funds raised help the food bank and the Emergency Housing Coalition. Funds that are raised in Xenia, Cincinnati and Richmond are disbursed to service providers in their respective cities.

Pax’s home site is Polk Grove Church in Butler Township, on the corner of Fredrick Pike and National Road. He prides himself on offering an added bonus to raise money.

“We of course will have the pancake brunch, but will also offer a silent auction of sports and Hollywood memorabilia, kitchen items, gift certificates, jewelry, tools, gift baskets, Dayton Dragons tickets and NASCAR items,” Pax said. “As a special feature, Pete Johnson will be on hand to sell autographs. Johnson is a member of the Ohio State Hall of Fame and played for the [Cincinnati] Bengals in the 1981 Super Bowl. The brunch begins at 9 a.m. and closes at 2 p.m. The silent auction begins at noon and will conclude at 2 p.m.”

(By the way, if you want to see more of ‘Steve’s Stuff’ check out our little video we provided. Just type this into your browswer:
tinyurl.com/k5lkrb4, or scan the QR code.)

Bottom line, Pax said he gets great satisfaction in not only helping others, but the dedicated group that helps put this together every year.

“Each year, the Day of Caring Pancake Brunch adds new volunteers, organizations and churches that bring a new life into the event,” Pax said. “It is a thrill to see how much pleasure they get in helping others. It is a fun event that never gets old. I take great pride in the work of our hundreds of volunteers. It is amazing what a community can do when they work together.”

Now, here are the particulars:

The cost of the ticket is $6 for adults, $4 for senior citizens and children under 12. The brunch includes Bob Evans pancakes and sausage, juice and coffee. Remember, there are 40 locations and the starting times vary. For times and locations, please visit dayofcaring.us or call 937.320.1687.

Steve summed it up best: “Like Thanksgiving, where we take one day to give thanks, The Day of Caring is a day to show that we care,” he said. “I invite everyone to come for good food with good friends for a great cause.”

Steve, I could say all that, but in preparation for Sunday, I’m eating pancakes and you know it’s not cool to talk with your mouth full.

Cheers, and could somebody pass the syrup?

 

For more than 25 years, “Buch” has been a local television icon. Known and loved by thousands in the Miami Valley, his followers describe him as trust-worthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and a role model. When it comes to promoting your business, Buch has the ability to grab your customer’s attention. Reach DCP freelance writer Jim Bucher at JimBucher@DaytonCityPaper.com. 

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