The smell of pancakes filled the Brownstown Central High School cafeteria the morning of March 5 as a community group continued its longstanding annual fundraiser.

The Brownstown Exchange Club cooked pancakes, eggs and sausage for the community during their annual all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast.

“I really like it,” said first-time attendee Richard Ruddick of Brownstown. “You just show up, and the food is ready to go, and it’s all you can eat.”

Ruddick said he attended the event after he saw the banner on the side of the Jackson County Courthouse and heard about it from other people.

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Dr. Ron Harrison, Brownstown Exchange Club president, stood behind the counter handing out drinks.

Harrison said the event is all about the community.

“We’re here to feed breakfast to the community and raise money to help in the community,” said Harrison.

According to Harrison, the breakfast, which cost $5 per ticket, will help the club’s focus on improving the community through “God, country and flag.”

The spring pancake breakfast, one of two such events the club conducts each year, collects the money necessary to do that and also brings together the community in doing so, he said.

“It’s a community group, we like to help the community,” said Jim Zabel, vice-president of the club.

Susan Harrison said the community is the focus of the event, from both a club standpoint and for those in attendance.

The event has a long-running history spanning as long as many of the exchange club members can remember and continuing for at least the past 25 years.

Many club members said they look forward to the event each year because of the “simplicity and smooth flow” that those years of having the event have brought.

“It’s been great to use the school. The facility is amazing. We all know our jobs by now, and that makes it easier,” Zabel said.

The club also began having a pancake breakfast in the fall several years ago after the continued success of the spring breakfast.

Last year, the club collected about $2,000 from the spring breakfast. The fall version brought in roughly $1,500.

“We come as often as we can. You see people you know and you don’t have to cook,” said Susan Harrison of Brownstown.

In addition to the pancake breakfast, the Brownstown Exchange Club has several other fundraisers and events it sponsors each year. The Round Barn Bike Ride and the Fort Vallonia Days 5K Run/Walk are both fundraising activities for the club.

Money collected at fundraisers funds club activities and programs that vary depending on the needs of the community.

They can range from providing flags to public sites or landscaping, helping with Jackson County United Way’s Day of Caring and honoring youth through the student of the month and student of the year scholarship programs.

The club also hosts a community service award dinner each year.

To date, the club has provided more than $500,000 to the community through service programs and funding.

Harrison said the funding and contributions the club has made to the community are made possible because of donations from the public.

“People love to come out and get a good breakfast; we appreciate the support that they give,” Harrison said.

Membership to the club is open to anyone wanting to be more involved in the community.

The club meets at 7 a.m. every Tuesday morning at Michie’s Diner, 216 W. Commerce St. in Brownstown.

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