TOWN OF DEWITT – The Rotary Club of DeWitt held its first Community Day event outside Pebble Hill Presbyterian Church this past weekend.
The event lasting from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 14 was publicized as a fun-filled day for the whole family. It included music, food and community service information booths.
To start the day off on a familiar note, DeWitt Rotarians served up plain, blueberry, M&M-infused and chocolate chip-flavored pancakes from 8 to 10 a.m.
For 65 consecutive years, DeWitt Rotary’s main fundraiser was its annual Pancake Day that made plating flapjacks the focus of the festivities. That long-standing streak would end up being broken when COVID hit in 2020 and the event was canceled.
The following year, with pandemic-related social distancing guidelines still in place, the co-chairs of the club convened to think of an alternative that didn’t involve a large crowd. They came up with a spring basket giveaway where people could order the baskets at a cost of $75 but a value more than triple that for each, only needing for the purchasers to quickly pick up the goods at a later date.
This year, with the spread of COVID on the wane, the elder Rotary members decided against the “heavy lifting” that came with lugging in 12 grills for a full-fledged Pancake Day and flipping batter outdoors in favor of a collaboration with area organizations and food trucks, Rotary co-chair Kathy Kotz said. Nonetheless it did feature a comparatively smaller window for pancakes if attendees bought their $10 breakfast tickets ahead of time.
This year, though, the club was able to make the pancakes in the kitchen of the church on Jamesville Road, the same place where they had the spring basket pickups.
Last week’s fundraiser included tables set up free of charge for charities the non-profit DeWitt Rotary supports.
Volunteers from the Jamesville-DeWitt Ecumenical Food Pantry were there to let people know about their mission, and the leaders club from the Hal Walsh East Area Family YMCA had coloring pages, bracelets, stickers and masks for kids to wear along with information about their sports programs and art classes.
Other organizations represented included the nonprofit supporting pediatric cancer patients Paige’s Butterfly Run and the faith-based charity Mothers and Children in Crisis.
The event also included raffled-off baskets under the tent and sponsorships from various companies.
The food trucks parked in the DeWitt church’s lot that afternoon sold treats from Carvel and barbecue from Limp Lizard. The Rotarians also picked up some orders from Pavone’s Pizza and gave out water and coffee.
Kotz said the plan is to hold the Community Day in the spring next year instead of on a crisp autumn day.