Madison churches, volunteers hold March pancake breakfasts to support local charities

Mar. 18—Madison church volunteers and community members are gathering this month to support four area charities while enjoying pancakes and sausage, with the final breakfast set for March 25.

The pancake breakfasts were organized by the Madison Christian Ministers Association Community Benefit Program, noted program chairman Dick Turkenburg. The fundraisers have been held every Saturday in March from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. at Central Congregational Church, 71 Park St. in Madison Village, to raise funds for Forbes House, Project Hope for the Homeless, the Salvation Army Utility Assistance program and the Madison Christmas basket program.

Volunteers from Trinity Lutheran Church in Madison Township served the March 18 breakfast.

"It's a good opportunity for the churches to have something for the community I think," said Jim Davis, who prepared pancakes on the griddle. "We'd like to see more people, but I think it's a service to the community."

Attendees sat around a few of the breakfast tables early in the morning, including guests from Trinity Lutheran.

"We're here to support the charities," said Betts Brahler, adding, "This is the first year. We're hoping that by next year, more people will be coming, will know that it's here."

"You don't have to wait in line," added Joyce Marshall.

Turkenburg noted that he started the Community Benefit Program to support Kentucky residents affected by a deadly December 2021 tornado.

"What they needed was building materials, and it didn't make sense to send that down from here," he said. "So, what we did is we started collecting money."

Turkenburg noted that the program raised $19,000 at two spring 2022 spaghetti dinners. It sent the relief money to the Salvation Army.

Since then, he noted that the group has "refocused" to support the four local charities.

According to materials provided by Turkenburg, Forbes House serves as a domestic violence shelter in Lake County, while Project Hope for the Homeless provides the county with "a faith-based temporary emergency shelter." The Salvation Army Utility Assistance Program supports residents who cannot pay gas or electric bills.

As for the Christmas basket program, he noted that volunteers previously collected and distributed baskets of food. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, volunteers have distributed gift cards to local grocery stores instead.

According to Turkenburg, 48 people attended on March 4 while 50 came to the March 11 breakfast, which was staffed by volunteers from the Kiwanis Club and Key Club. About 46 people had come to the March 18 breakfast as of 11:30 a.m.

He noted that leaders from the benefit program will likely volunteer at the March 25 breakfast.

While the Community Benefit Program has not decided on its next fundraiser, Turkenburg said that the group intends to host more pancake breakfast events next year. It also plans to organize other benefit events.

"There's a lot of ideas out there, but we haven't settled on any particular thing yet," he said.

According to Turkenburg, the Community Benefit Program operates under the MCMA "for tax purposes and legal purposes." The MCMA includes Trinity Lutheran, Central Congregational, Park United Methodist Church, Chapel United Methodist Church, Immaculate Conception Church and St. Anne In-The-Fields Anglican Church.