GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The savory scent of hot pancakes and sausage filled the fellowship hall of First United Methodist in downtown Gulfport Wednesday at noon. It's a longtime Kiwanis Club tradition: Pancake day.
A hot griddle merry-go-round keeps the hot cakes coming. 30-year Kiwanis Club veteran, Ed Jones, mans the "batter gun."
"Look at them. If you don't think they're perfect, somebody's eyesight is wrong," said a smiling Jones, "Every now and then we'll make an animal."
The Gulfport Kiwanis Club has hosted "pancake day" for 52 years. It's the clubs biggest fundraiser of the year.
All those pancakes not only satisfy hungry customers, they serve a greater purpose.
"We send a lot of students in high schools to leadership camps to help them become better people. We also support special needs children. We spend a lot of money donating to the Salvation Army and Camp Kiwanis and different programs of that nature," said club president Travis Moore.
Flipping pancakes is Long Beach High student Francine Billingslea's favorite part of volunteering. She belongs to the Key Club, the high school equivalent of Kiwanis.
"I'm so excited. My key club is going to come today at 3:20 to help more, and they're excited, too. We're all wearing our little key club shirts, so yeah!" she exclaimed.
"We look forward to it," says Moore, "And you won't believe the number of people in this community who ask us, 'When is pancake day? When's pancake day?' They look forward to it also."