Rotary/YMCA pancake breakfast reaches 70-year milestone
DOWNEY – Pancake batter bubbling on the griddle, each one adorned with Mickey Mouse ears. It must be the 70th annual community breakfast served by the Rotary Club of Downey, to benefit the Downey Family YMCA.
Fine jeweler Angelo Cardono’s secret for the ears? He pours them meticulously from a special batter bottle with a tiny spout, and the crowd loves them. Chocolate chip sprinkles were optional.
Brainchild of Angelo, the event has served hundreds of thousands of Downeyites over the years and enabled the Y to buy special equipment for its gymnastic and aquatic programs, and yoga mats for instructor Lupe Baeza-Martinez’s hatha classes.
“Starbucks donated their Pike Place coffee,” said Y Executive Director Lori Tiffany. “Our staff secured the gift from the Starbucks at Firestone and Lakewood. We rent the gas grills.”
The morning feast is presented alternately at Downey and Warren high schools, this time in the Downey Quad, where red metal benches and seats placed around trees gave some shade, which helped, because the day was another perfect October California day.
Busy former Mayor Meredith Perkins, a member of the Downey Optimist Club, made an early appearance. Keeping an eye on the proceedings were Dr. John Garcia of the DUSD and fellow Rotarian Larry Garces.
“Even more people are here than last year,” commented Lori, as the loud speakers pumped out aerobic dance music and students from the Y demonstrated their moves. In the background white-jacketed youngsters put on a karate show and weightlifters raised heavy tires above their heads. Colorful YMCA booths exhibited pictures from summer camp near Lake Arrowhead, and other moments from Y programs.
Rotarians arrived at Downey High kitchen at 6 am to start cooking sausages and mixing the pancake batter, so they could open at 7:30, with orange juice and butter and maple syrup to go with the pancakes and coffee.
“We close about 11,” said Roger Brossmer, Assistant Superintendent of the DUSD and the man in charge of the breakfast for Rotary. Seen in a purely supervisory capacity was Mike Pohlen.
Also seen cooking and serving were Rotary President Greg Welch, Pam Powers, Manny Castro, Paul Granata, Dr. Dan Fox, John Lacey, and at the orange juice table Tom Hutchinson and Jorge Lopez, both graduates of Downey High.
Also seen enjoying the pancakes were Rotarians Harold Tseklenis and wife Anna, and Jorge Montero with Maru.
Raul Lopez helped with the flapjack flipping, and later attended to grandfatherly duties with son Alex and Alex’s wife Jenette, both Downey Rotarians, and their boys, twins Nathaniel and Benjamin, and Teddy, possible future Rotarians all.