Long before the first pancake is flipped at the Kiwanis Club of La Jolla’s “Families & Flapjacks” breakfast — 7:30 a.m. Saturday, July 28 at the Rec Center — dedicated volunteers will be guarding the equipment, setting things up, mixing the batter, and prepping for the 55th annual event at 615 Prospect St.
“It’s a process, we probably have eight or 10 of us there to get everything going before the breakfast starts, and a total of 30 or so helping throughout the day,” said Trenton Bonner, who has been volunteering with this event since 2005, when he joined the Kiwanis Club.
About a month before, Club members gather donations and raffle items (often gift certificates) from local businesses. They inventory what they have and what they need in terms of paper goods and supplies. Next, all the food items are purchased, and that includes pancake batter, berries, chocolate chips, syrup, honey, powdered sugar, coffee, juice, sausages and more.
The day before is dedicated to unloading and setting up the sausage griddle and four pancake griddles, tables and chairs, and cleaning up the area so it’s ready for prime time.
The night before, the Boy Scouts in Troop 4 arrive at the Rec Center around 4:30 p.m. and camp out until Saturday morning to guard the equipment.
Kiwanian Jim Fox, who has been volunteering for 10 years, is the man behind the batter. He said that prep process also starts the previous day.
“We have to thoroughly check the batter-mixing machine because it’s a hummer, and we have to make sure everything is working,” he told the Light. “We expect 1,000 diners, so that’s a lot of batter that has to keep moving. The day of, we start mixing early so we can have a good supply by the time the event begins.”
When it comes to enhancing the homemade batter, Fox explained: “We add a few goodies to it, a little sugar and buttermilk ... it makes the pancakes a little fluffier. There’s no real secret though, we’ve just tried different things throughout the years and found what works.”
Around 6 a.m., volunteers show up — starting with whomever has the coffee — for the last-minute touches. With the fixings portioned out, the pancake recipe perfected and the machines rolling, the batter stays in the mixer until poured into smaller portions and ready for the grill.
“We keep the line moving pretty quickly,” Bonner said. “But are cooks like to flip pancakes in a festive way — some get creative and make Mickey Mouse pancakes for the kids. A lot of students from our Circle K Club at UC San Diego (the college community service arm of Kiwanis International) will come in and help us. Kiwanians really get into this event because it’s all about meeting the public. We don’t make any money on it, we just want to give people a good time.”
As in past years, there will be family activities like bounce houses, face painting, craft booths, music and a raffle featuring items from area merchants to accompany the all-you-can-eat-breakfast.
Admission is $10, but children under age 10 attend for free with paying adults.
Other Kiwanis events that are more oriented to fundraising include the La Jolla Half Marathon, which raises approximately $200,000 annually for local charities; and the Junior Olympics, at which 1,000 elementary-school children participate in track and field activities. Both events take place in the spring. — Learn more at kiwanisclublajolla.org