Pancake Breakfast benefits Giving Tree

By: Julie Snyder | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published September 25, 2013

HARRISON TOWNSHIP — Members of the Harrison Township Firefighters Local 1737 are yet again hosting an event that will allow them to, with the aid of the community, provide a happy holiday for area families in need.

The union’s annual Pancake Breakfast and Open House will be held from 9 a.m.-noon Sunday, Sept. 29 at Station 2, 39460 Jefferson. The cost to attend the event is $6 for adults, $3 for children ages 4-12 and children 3 and younger attend for free.

Harrison Township Firefighter Eric Evans said all proceeds from the event will benefit the department’s Christmas Giving Tree program.

“We helped more families last year than in previous years,” said Evans. “It was an incredible turnout last year; we really had a great response.”

The Giving Tree program has helped hundreds of local children in need over the last several years.

Money made during the breakfast and open house event goes toward purchasing gifts for those children, whose names were not taken from the two Giving Trees that are revealed during the fire department’s other breakfast-style event, Doughnuts with Santa, which is traditionally held in the beginning of December, Evans said.

Anywhere from 35 to 50 names of local children are placed on the trees through a tagging system. Each tag consists of two needs and two wants of a specific child. Evans said the department works with officials at L’Anse Creuse Public Schools in identifying families in the community that need assistance, and residents of the township are asked to pluck one or more tags from the trees and fulfill those wants and needs. The gifts are then returned to one of the fire stations — Station 1 is located on Crocker, just west of Jefferson — and firefighters distribute the gifts to the families several days before Christmas.

Evans said the pancake breakfast usually brings in around $1,000 each year; money that the union uses to fulfill the wishes of the remaining children whose names remain on either of the trees.

“There usually aren’t a lot of tags left, but there are some,” said Evans. “We make sure every child gets their need and their want. And we also purchase turkeys and other food items for the families.”

The upcoming breakfast will consist of pancakes, sausage, juice, coffee and milk. During the open house event, there will be a Jaws of Life demonstration, tours of the fire station, and the department’s fleets of emergency vehicles will be on display. There will also be many activities for the kids, including a bounce house and face painting.

“And it’s the kick-off for Fire Safety Month (October),” said Harrison Township Fire Chief Michael Lopez. “The kids will learn some hands-on (fire safety) skills, and we’ll be handing out safety packets.

“We hope it’s like last year … the weather was beautiful, and we had a great turnout for a great cause.”