MASSENA — The coronavirus pandemic scrapped plans for the Massena Rotary Club’s biggest fundraiser of the year, its annual pancake breakfast and silent auction. But that doesn’t mean the pancake mix and locally produced maple syrup have been put back on the shelf until next year.
The Massena Rotary Pancake Day has been scheduled for Nov. 7, but there will be a twist — it will be a drive-thru event from 7 a.m. to noon at First United Methodist Church, 189 Main St.
But, despite being a drive-through, it will feature the same menu of pancakes, sausages and syrup that will be taken home to enjoy.
“It will be a way to raise money in a different way,” Rotary Club President Patrick Brady said. “We’re partnering with First United Methodist Church on Main Street. Rotary Club members will be cooking pancakes and sausage in the parish hall. We’ll start to cook earlier than 7 o’clock.”
Volunteers will set up to greet vehicles and sell pancake tickets, as well as offer a chance at a 50-50 raffle. There will be no need to get out of the car. Masks are required.
“Cars will pull up and we will take their order and their money and deliver it to their vehicle,” Mr. Brady said.
The cost is $5 per meal and 50/50 raffle tickets are $5 for 10. Credit or debit cards are accepted and carry a 50 cent charge.
“We’ll give them a string of (50/50) tickets. We’ll just write their name and phone number on a sheet of paper. They don’t have to write their name on the back of the tickets,” he said.
The money raised supports Rotary International programs and community programs, Mr. Brady said.
“A large part of our monies are kept in the community in support of many different organizations,” he said.
He said they donate to food pantries like St. Vincent de Paul and the Massena Neighborhood Center, provide scholarships to students, and donate to other organizations such as the Police Activities League of Massena, Massena Hospital Foundation and Massena Meals on Wheels.
“We hope to see a lot of people come out on Nov. 7. Our fundraising needs to continue,” Mr. Brady said.
The Rotary Club is looking for sponsors for the event, for $25 each. In return, the business or organization will be publicized in spots such as the Rotary Club’s social media pages and on signs announcing the breakfast. WMSA Radio will also be live that morning and will be mentioning the names of the sponsors over the airwaves.
Mr. Brady said they still hope to have a larger pancake breakfast this year to truly replace the one that would have been held on March 28 at J.W. Leary Junior High School.
“We still hope to have our larger pancake breakfast this year while following Department of Health protocols. We’re looking at doing some other activities as well,” he said.
The pancake breakfast, the Rotary Club’s biggest fundraiser, typically signals the start of spring in the north country. This is the 60th year for the fundraiser, which has featured pancakes with local maple syrup, sausage, orange juice and hot beverage. The event has also featured a silent auction, which has garnered a major portion of the fundraiser proceeds.