When it comes to fundraisers, the Brownstown Exchange Club knows how to bring people in.
There’s no better way to pull in a crowd than with good food, and plenty of it, club members said.
On Saturday morning, it was stacks of golden brown pancakes, mountains of fluffy scrambled eggs and heaps of little sausage links on the menu.
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The club’s annual all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast has become a longstanding tradition in the community, with people lining up in the Brownstown Central High School cafeteria to fill their bellies in support of a good cause.
Club president Joe Bradley manned the ticket table early on and said he expected between 400 to 500 people to eat during the course of four hours.
“We do another pancake breakfast in the fall, but this one is big,” he said.
Serving up the pancakes was club member Jed Wheatley, who also was chairman of the event.
He expected the breakfast to bring in anywhere from $1,000 to $1,500. That amount wouldn’t be possible without the help of Rose Acre Farms, Wheatley said.
“They donated all the eggs for us,” he added.
All proceeds from the event go to help fund various club activities and projects in the town.
This year, the club is donating all the pancake breakfast money to the Jackson County History Center to help cover expenses associated with moving and restoring an old log cabin. That cabin used to sit on property behind Brownstown Elementary School, but is now a shining part of the history center’s museum and pioneer village campus on East Walnut Street.
“This is the first time they’ve partnered with us, and we appreciate it so much,” history center volunteer Margo Brewer said.
Brewer and fellow volunteer Nancy Burge staffed a table at the breakfast to provide people with more information about the history center and where their donation was going.
Mark Spray said he likes the social aspect of the breakfast and how everyone comes together. He and his wife Mary Ann attend the event whenever they can.
“It’s nice to see people that we don’t get to see everyday,” Mark said after eating his fill of pancakes, eggs and sausage. “And the food was delicious. The guys do a fantastic job cooking it up and getting everything ready.”
Club member Tom Clodfelter and his wife, Anne, were in charge of mixing up the pancake batter, pouring the pancakes onto the griddle and flipping them at just the right time to make sure they were cooked perfectly.
Anne said she didn’t know how many pancakes they would make that morning.
“A bunch,” she said.
Besides getting to eat a hearty breakfast, Spray said he feels it’s important for people in the community to support the club’s work, which includes honoring area youth through the student of the month and year scholarships.
Since it started in 1966, the club has contributed more than $500,000 to the community through various civic and youth-oriented projects.
Besides the pancake breakfast, the Exchange Club also sponsors the Round Barn Bike Ride and the Melon Festival and Fort Vallonia Days 5K Run/Walks as fundraisers.
Club members participate in the annual United Way Day of Caring and host a community service awards dinner each year too.
Exchange club member Steve Edwards said the club’s successes are because of the community.
“This community is all about giving, and helping and sharing,” he said. “You’ve got to have a community that backs you and we have that.”
Membership to Brownstown Exchange Club is open to any resident wanting to become more involved in making the community a better place to live.
The club meets at 7 a.m. every Tuesday morning at Michie’s Deli, 216 W. Commerce St. in Brownstown.