David Lewis began his pancake duties at 5:30 a.m. Saturday. Standing on a cushioned pad, wearing a blue Kiwanis apron and splattered with pancake batter, Lewis studied the griddle in front of him.
“The secret to a good pancake is to know your cooking surface,” he said with a smile as he flipped a fluffy, golden flapjack. “This one has a hotspot in the middle, so I have to flip those sooner.”
Lewis, a first year member, but a several-year pancake breakfast patron, proclaimed himself the doctor of pancakes during the annual Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast at the Anniston City Meeting Center.
“I’m actually a doctor, but today I’m a doctor of pancakes!” he said, spatula in hand.
The annual breakfast, a community event since 1987, drew several thousand Calhoun County residents before noon. The goal this year was to reach $55,000, said Steve Taylor, pancake breakfast chairman.
“Last year we surpassed $50,000,” he said. “That’s the first time that has happened in a while. I think we will easily pass $50,000 again this year.”
Proceeds from the event help fund an annual back-to-school shopping spree for Calhoun County children.
“A few years ago, we took a little boy who was on the baseball team I coached,” Taylor said. “At the end of it, he looked at me and asked if he really got to keep all those clothes. That is why I keep doing this.”
With a line out the door, volunteers, Kiwanis members, and high school students from across the county stuffed to-go boxes with hotcakes, sausage, butter and syrup.
Patricia Borrero, an Oxford High School freshman, said she would be there for the long haul.
“I got here at 7 a.m. and I won’t leave until it is done,” she said.
Borrero, a member of Oxford’s Key Club, said volunteering is in her nature.
“This is fun and I really just like to help people,” she said, surrounded by students from Alexandria, Donoho and Anniston High School.
With the number of people taking advantage of the breakfast, supplies ran low fast.
“We ordered about 850 pounds of dry pancake batter, 9,000 sausage patties, about 100 gallons of milk and juice, and 20 cases of syrup bottles,” he said. “I’ve been doing this 15 years and we’ve never had the challenges like we’ve had today,” Taylor said referring to a mix-up with the pancake mix.
In a last minute decision, Kiwanis members bought extra gallons of milk, cooking oil and about 40 dozen eggs for the pancake mix that was only supposed to call for water.
“Our distributor sent us the mix that needs all this other stuff to make, instead of the water only kind,” he said. “That led to issues with our batter dispensers, because it was thicker.”
Despite the setback Taylor said was happening behind the scenes, patrons were none the wiser.
Lee Frederick and his 4-year-old daughter, Emma Grace Frederick, were just excited to participate in the community event for the first time.
“She is very excited,” he said as she bounced on her toes.
Jeremy McCants, a junior at Anniston High School, brought his little brother, Jalen McCants, for some sibling bonding.
“This just gives people an opportunity to come and eat while bringing the community together,” Jeremy McCants said.
“It feels good getting to spend time with my brother,” Jalen McCants said with a fork full of pancake.