SALEM - When it comes to flipping pancakes, Salem Rotary boasts 51 years worth of history in perfecting the club's biggest fundraiser of the year, and $223,900 raised as a result of those efforts.
The 52nd Annual Pancake Day is 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday in the Salem High School cafeteria featuring all the pancakes a person can eat, along with scrambled eggs, sausage, orange juice, coffee and milk.
The cost is $6.50 for adults and $4 for children under 10. Sugar-free and gluten-free options will be available and carryouts will be available. Everything is made from scratch.
"Over the years, we've really refined it," Pancake Day chairman Frank Zamarelli said.
He's been in charge of the annual breakfast for 18 years, but said they've kept a running total of supplies used for the past 51 years. That list includes: 57,150 pancakes; 1,410 gallons of syrup; 13,155 pounds of sausage; 19,610 eggs scrambled; and 19,150 volunteer hours donated. He expects to go through 60 gallons of orange juice.
The breakfast used to be held at the Memorial Building, but moved to the high school, with the school district donating the use of the building. Visitors used to have to stand in line, but Zamarelli changed the format so that diners are served by Rotary members. Students from the Interact Club at the high school bus tables and clean up.
"Dad always said 'make the customer comfortable,'" he shared, noting that Frank Sr. cooked many a meal for large groups.
Pancake Day is always the Sunday before Election Day, but Rotary is an apolitical organization and does not allow candidates to hand out materials. They're welcome to come and eat breakfast, he said.
All funds raised through the breakfast and a Chinese auction planned from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. will be used by Rotary for the club's various endeavors and charity interests, such as the student foreign exchange program, the flag program and the dictionary program which provides Webster dictionaries to third graders in Salem schools, including St. Paul.
"There's a long, rich history of Rotary members in Salem," Zamarelli said.
Rotary International was founded in 1904 and the Salem chapter came along in 1921, with meetings first held at the Salem Golf Club. For years the group was all male until 1989 when Rotary International said women could be included. Elaine Rousseau was the first female member of the Salem Rotary Club and remains an active member today.
According to Zamarelli, the club which puts service above self has 72 members from all walks of life, with 40 percent of the membership female.
"There's a lot that Rotary does locally," he said.
The club currently has a Salem student living in Spain and a student from Spain living in Salem as part of the foreign exchange program. There's also an ambassadorial scholar program for young adults under 25 who study for three months in another country. The club sends a portion of its proceeds to the Rotary International Polio Plus program aimed at eradicating polio. Polio pigs can be found at a number of locations where people can drop a donation.
Rotary of Salem started the flag project a couple of years ago, charging businesses and individuals a fee of $25 for Rotary members to install a flag on their lawn for all holidays. They're now up to 600 flag subscriptions. Rotary gives to a number of local charities and sponsors several groups and events.
Rotary helps to sponsor Junior Achievement and the Interact Club, Banquet in Salem, Salem Youth Soccer, Salem High School Junior Class Career Day, Rotary 4-Way Speech Contest, Buckeye Boys and Girls State, Christmas "Create a Smile," the Salem city fireworks display, Family Recovery Center mock crash and Kin and Kids programs, community service awards and scholarships, high school and youth music groups in Salem and West Branch, Group Study Exchange Teams (Hub Club and Team Sponsor), Habitat for Humanity of Northern Columbiana County, Rotary Youth Leadership Award, Salem X-Tra Mile Club, scouting, United Way of Northern Columbiana County, Salvation Army of Salem summer day camp for kids, The Rotary Foundation, Salem, Rotary Foundation, the Fat Tuesday program for the Salem food pantry, International Humanitarian Project (India project with Youngstown and Carrollton), Senior Citizen Prom, International Disaster Relief (shelter kit with Interact Club), Adopt-A-School /WASRAG (Ibihwa School, Bahi District, Tanzania), Innovative Club Activities with Kent State Salem students, Meals on Wheels of Northern Columbiana County, Vocational Shadow Days (Salem and United High Schools) and Project Career Connect with Salem City Junior High School.
Mary Ann Greier can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org