Edwardsburg Presbyterian Church hosts pancake breakfast to support veterans

CASSOPOLIS — Before colorful floats marched down Main Street to honor those who have given their lives in service to the U.S. Monday morning, members of Edwardsburg Presbyterian Church were flipping pancakes and serving up sausages to support local veterans.

Monday, Edwardsburg Presbyterian Church hosted a drive-thru Memorial Day pancake breakfast to raise funds for its Hero Haul. The Hero Haul supports southwest Michigan veterans by supplying funds to the Battle Creek V.A. Medical Center to purchase personal care items for veterans in its care.

“This money can purchase many personal care items, including coats and hats,” said organizer Jerry Tavernier.

According to Tavernier, the church has been hosting the Hero Haul for the past six years, though he and other community members worked to support the fund prior to that. In years past, the fundraiser has collected upwards of $9,000, which Tavernier hoped to again reach this year. However, he said that with COVID-19 precautions, he would be happy to raise any and all donations.

“This is a different year,” he said with a laugh. “We are happy to do whatever we can to support our veterans.”

Typically, the annual pancake breakfast is hosted indoors, but due to continuing concern over the COVID-19 pandemic, the church opted to host this year’s event as a drive-thru breakfast. Though the format is different than usual, church members said they were just glad they were again able to host an in-person event.

“We decided to try it this way and see what happens,” said Pam Boepple, who was helping to serve food Monday morning. “With the parade happening, we think we are in a good position. It’s a nice position to be at so people have something nice to do before the parade.”

A veteran himself, Tavernier said he fully believes in the importance of the Hero Haul’s mission.

“This is very dear to my heart,” he said. “All the guys that are [at the Battle Creek VA Medical Center] are veterans who served in the war. I didn’t have to do that, but they did, and they gave a lot. There are some who are dealing with PTSD, or are missing limbs or are unable to take care of themselves anymore. It’s important to look after our veterans.”

Though organizers said the breakfast got off to a slow start, they hoped to see an influx of customers before and after the village’s Memorial Day parade. By 8:45 a.m., volunteers were welcoming cars as they pulled in, hungry for home-cooked pancakes.

“We are hopeful the community will come out and support our veterans,” Tavernier said.

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