Flipping for Charities makes over 12,000 pancakes - The Ledger

LAKELAND —It takes a bit of math but the figure is still impressive.

For $8, each ticket holder got three large pancakes, three pieces of sausage, orange juice and

coffee, in addition to returning for seconds upon request at no charge.

There were 4,000 ticketholders.

"You do the math," said Kiwanis President Nan Clark.

That's how many pancakes were flipped at Saturday's 61st Flipping for Charities Citrus Center Kiwanis Breakfast at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland.

The breakfast took more than a little doing to put on the event, according to event committee chair Kerry Charlet.

"The sponsors are the key," he said, "Without them, it wouldn't be a success."

Presenting sponsor was MidFlorida Credit Union with enormous support from Southern Homes, Detroit Tigers Foundation of Florida, Uncle John's Pride Country Smoked Sausage, Publix Super Markets Charities, Cannon Subaru, Hudson Pump, Stanley Properties and the Denis L. Fontaine Foundation, in addition to stacks of other sponsors and vendors who volunteered their time.

Charlet said, a few years ago, the annual event was put on by three different Kiwanis Clubs — Citrus Center, the Downtown and the North Lakeland clubs — but two clubs wanted to go a different direction.

He said Citrus Center was told they would probably never be able to put on a large breakfast by themselves, but the club of some 70 members got to work.

"This event is kind of the glue of our membership," he said.

"It's just good to see 70 people come together to put on an event for 4,000 people."

Before Citrus Center Kiwanis took over, breakfast tickets were purchased in bulk by most of the Kiwanis members, who then basically gave the tickets away, he said.

Charlet said the general consensus of the club was that if people enjoyed the time honored tradition that much, they would be willing to pay for it.

And that statement proved to be true, according to one person who attended this year's breakfast.

"I've got to eat somewhere," said Don Burdett of Lakeland, who brought his wife, Jan, to the event.

"We've been coming for 19 years. It's certainly put on by a great group. Coming out here and having breakfast is a great way to give back to the community," he said.

Nearby, Luis Solis of Lakeland said it was his first time attending the epic pancake fundraiser.

He heard of the event from his wife, Rosa, who works for the Detroit Tigers as a receptionist in the Lakeland office.

The event used to be held at the Tiger hangars, she said, but the stadium has more room. "This is much better," she said.

Last year, the club raised $40,000 for charities, and each charity received $4,000, said Nan Clark.

"It used to be they would only receive $500," she said, prior to the club securing enormous sponsorships.

Nine charities are the beneficiaries of this breakfast, Clark added: Big Brothers Big Sisters, Camp Fire Sunshine Council, Early Learning Coalition of Polk County, Girls Inc., Idols Aside, kidsPACK, LoBo Ranch, Parker Street Ministries and YMCA of West Central Florida.

To entertain children and draw families, three Star Wars Re-enactors clubs volunteered their services to dress up in cosplay costumes, while kids posed for selfies and photos with storm troopers and superheroes.

"I think it is really a good way to bring kids' dreams to life," said one mom, Casey Prescott of Lake Wales, who brought her husband, Nate, and two kids to the event.

Meanwhile, as the Star Wars and superheroes (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Spider Man and others) were posing for pictures all over the stadium property, Sam "Moran" Medigovich was hanging with his band, the Tavern Kings, as they set up for their show.

"They said they weren't going to be able to have a band this year," said Medigovich.

"We played last year and got such a good response from the crowd that we volunteered this year," he said.

The Kiwanis started planning the event back in July, and met once a month to pull things together, said Charlet. Committees were assigned to all aspects of the breakfast, from sponsorship and advertising, to hands-on volunteers who helped prepare breakfast, ticket sellers, ticket takers, those who worked parking, entertainment and more, he said.

The stadium became the perfect venue, Charlet said, with the breakfast being held there for the first time three years ago, when on April 8, the breakfast ran on the same day as the opening night of the Flying Tigers' first game.

Kathy Leigh Berkowitz can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 863-802-7558. Follow her on Twitter @kberkowitzthel1.

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