Pancakes for nonprofits

Wielding a flip-happy spatula, Bob Clermont of Oak Bluffs keeps the griddle filled, and the cakes moving. — File photo by Ralph Stewart

On Sunday from 7 am to 1 pm, some 600 hungry Islanders headed to the Edgartown waterfront to feast on a pancake breakfast hosted by the Rotary Club of Martha’s Vineyard. The prep, the cooking, and the cleanup were all handled by members of the club, which has a low profile in the community but a long reach when it comes to supporting local nonprofit organizations.

The pancake breakfast is the major fundraising event of the year for the Rotary Club. This year it netted almost $6,000, thanks to ticket sales and placemat advertising. Proceeds go to support local charities like the Food Pantry, the Boys and Girls Club, the Y, the Della Hardman Essay Contest.

The Rotary Club, whose motto is Service above Self, meets every Wednesday for lunch at the Ocean View in Oak Bluffs. There are about 70 year-round members on the Island. They meet for fellowship, to learn about the community and to find opportunities to volunteer. There is a different speaker every week, from artists to public officials to editors to fishermen and ministers. Members are expected to attend every week, so it takes more than a casual commitment.

The pancake breakfast is the major fundraising event of the year for Rotary of M.V. It takes a lot of hands to organize and execute, but members are happy to participate. About 50 of them were on hand Sunday, cooking, serving, cleaning up.

For some attendees from around the Island it’s the only time they come to Edgartown, especially in summer. But many return year after year, for the novelty, for the food, and for a chance to spend some time on the waterfront.