American Legion Mary L. Bair Post 44 of Holton, Kan., has been offering a freewill donation Saturday breakfast to the community. The menu varies but focuses on pancakes, sausage patties, scrambled eggs, coffee, orange juice, milk and water. The post alternates Saturday breakfast sponsorships with American Legion Auxiliary Unit 44, which serves breakfast casseroles, and the local VFW post, which serves biscuits and gravy.
Pat Fontaine, post commander, says the idea originated when several members remarked that as a result of the pandemic there are very few places in town that serve breakfast. A small team was formed to brainstorm ideas and options, the members voted to approve the idea, and "Breakfast is Served!"
Volunteers prepare the tables Friday morning, supplies are bought, and members start arriving at the post around 0515 on Saturdays to start the coffee pots, get the grills hot and generally make sure we’re ready to go when the doors open at 0700.
“The word is getting out,” Pat says, “and we’re seeing a modest increase in the number of guests. We’re averaging over 100 guests per Legion Breakfast. We’re open from 7-10 am, but we’ll serve anybody who shows up early and hungry, and stay open until the food runs out.
"It’s a partnership,” he continued. “Most of us are dual or even triple membership between the Legion, the Auxiliary and the VFW, so we support each other very well. Our Auxiliary president, Sharon Spiker, and I have joint meetings from time to time to work out these combined efforts and they’re paying off. The kitchen staff is a blend of members from the Legion and Auxiliary and VFW and it’s a riot to be around these 'Kitchen Warriors’ when they’re ‘slinging hash’.'”
But the work doesn’t end when the last breakfast is served. Members clean and wash everything, and put the post back in order before resuming their weekends. And a small crew comes back a few hours later after the flattop stove has cooled and gives it a thorough cleaning. All in all, it’s about an eight- or nine-hour commitment to serve breakfast for the community. “It’s absolutely worth it,” say Pat and Sharon.