Goshen News, Goshen, IN

November 15, 2012

Goshen Salvation Army gears up for its 49th annual Pancake Day

By ROGER SCHNEIDER
THE GOSHEN NEWS

GOSHEN — The pancake plan has been put into action.

From across Goshen and Elkhart County volunteers have begun to drop off equipment and food at the Goshen Salvation Army building to prepare for Friday’s 49th annual Pancake Day. The day is a major fundraiser for the Army and, when combined with the money raised from Christmas bell ringing and holiday solicitations, accounts for about 50 percent of the revenue needed for a year, according to Maj. Allen Hanton.

Last year the event grossed between $55,000 and $60,000, Hanton said. That revenue is made possible by the hundreds of volunteers who provide services, sponsor corporate tables or buy food for the event.

“We are very blessed that we have many, if not all, service clubs in Goshen helping us pull this off,” Hanton said at the headquarters as the Elkhart County Exchange Club crew arrived with grills for the event. Also helping will be students from The Crossing alternative schools and members of the Community Church of Waterford.

“They liked it so much last year,” Hanton said of the church members, “that they said ‘sure, we will do it again.’”

The money raised will help pay for the growing need for the Army’s services in Goshen, according to Hanton.

“We have seen an increase in those who come to use our emergency food pantry,” he said. He said the Army spends about $2,500 a month to stock the pantry. That expenditure is on top of all the food raised through food drives and donated by community members.

“It only took six weeks to get through the postal carriers’ food drive, and that was 12,000 pounds,” Hanton said.

Demand for other services goes beyond the kitchen table.

“One of the things we are seeing is an increase in requests for prescription medicines,” the major said. “We are able to help with part of that once a year.”

Not all of the Army’s services are based on dire needs. One program celebrates the spirit of the young. Each summer the Army sends children to summer camp at Little Pine Island Lake north of Grand Rapids, Mich. Last year the Army provided funding for 30 local children to attend that camp.

And volunteers are at the center of raising money for those projects and more.

“It’s amazing, the number of volunteers,” said Richard Eysol of Bristol, as he unloaded the Exchange trailer. “It’s a whole bunch of people and that’s what makes it successful.”

The volunteers will serve up pancakes and sausage from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.  And, choirs from Fairfield and Goshen high schools will provide music during the event.

Hanton said many people attend the event early for breakfast before they go to work and then again during the lunch hour with co-workers.

Cost for a meal is $5 in advance, with tickets available through today at the Army headquarters, 1013 N. Main St., Goshen, or at local banks and the Interra Credit Union branches. At the door on Friday the cost will be $6.

Out on the loading dock, Eysol and fellow Exchange member Bob Hawkins were getting ready to unload the last of the grilling equipment. Eysol took a moment to comment on the pending event.

“I tell you what,” Eyesol said. “They raise a lot of money. And they need it really bad.”

Input needed

The Salvation Army, Goshen, is conducting an online community needs assessment and public is needed

Maj. Karen Hanton said the assessment is to help local Salvation Army staff make informed decisions about being a service provider. The goal is to get reliable data on what services the community feels The Salvation Army needs to supply and where it is lacking. So, Hanton would like the public to be brutally honest.

“We want all opinions, even if they are not favorable,” Hanton said. “That’s great.”

The assessment takes about five to seven minutes. The Salvation Army would like to see responses from Goshen and the eight southern townships, but anyone in Elkhart County can take the assessment.

The web address is www.salvationarmysurvey.com. It’s important to remember that once at that site, the participant choose the Goshen, IN survey and then follow the prompts from there.

The assessment can be taken through November. Results will be released in January and will be available to anyone, Hanton said.