Newberg volunteer firefighters and Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue personnel will serve the community in an unusual way next week as the 28th annual Pancake Breakfast is slated for May 6 at the main fire station at 414 E. Second St.
Empty stomachs will be filled with all-you-can-eat pancakes, sausage, scrambled eggs, orange juice and coffee. Proceeds from the fundraiser go toward the department's Toy and Joy program.
Antique fire equipment and fire trucks will be at the ready for the children to crawl through while asking firefighters questions.
"They can try on some gear if they want," Capt. Alex Haven, Station 20 chief, said. "It's kind of fun when we have to go out on a call while everybody is sitting there, the kids get to see us run the sirens. When we come back then everyone asks us what happened. It gets pretty exciting."
Breakfast will be served from 6:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. and cost $7 for adults, $5 for seniors, $3 for kids from 6 to 12, and 5 and younger eat free.
"We get a big surge before church, starting about 6:30 until 9:30 or 10 a.m. and we stay open until another surge after church until 1 p.m.," Haven said.
Haven has been working at the fire station since 2000 and is on call that day. His responsibility is to run the kitchen; if he has to go on call a group of people will take over in the kitchen to ensure that they do not miss a beat.
"Most of the Newberg firefighters will be there and a pretty good amount of honorees," Haven said. "What we call an honoree here is those that left the fire department after eight to 10 years of service. We have around 100 active or inactive honorees and have 30 to 40 that are active that help to support the breakfast."
Last year the breakfast was a combined effort of Newberg volunteers and the TVF&R while the district was under contract with the city. This year it is a TVF&R breakfast, although both groups stage the event, handling all the logistics.
"All of TVF&Rs volunteer core signed up to help," Haven said. "Community involvement is huge for TVF&R, they see value in that and we really appreciate it.
"The biggest benefit for us is that we get the community to our station. We try to get out into the community as much as possible, but we don't get a lot of time to do that. This way, they get to come by."
Haven explained that the breakfast started in 1977 in order to raise funds for a new rescue rig. It was held for two years, then curtailed when sufficient funds were raised, although the department started getting calls from community members asking that the event return.
In 1990, the department decided to bring it back and turn it into a fundraiser for the Toy and Joy program, which started in a Newberg firefighter's garage in 1929 to make Christmas presents for low-income Newberg-area children. Toy and Joy will celebrate its 89th year in 2018.
The department also holds a summer golf tournament whose proceeds go toward Toy and Joy as well. Last year the two events raised more than $7,500.
"Last year, we had a reduced number of people (about 750). The average for us is around 1,400 to 1, 500," Haven said. "This year we bolstered the advertising and we are hoping to get the numbers back up to the average."
The pancake breakfast is supported by donations from local businesses, including Krohn's Appliances, Nap's Thriftway, St. Cousair Oregon Orchards (formerly Berry Noir), the city of Newberg, Dundee Fire Department, Pete's Coffee, Boyes Janitorial and Blue Star Gas of McMinnville.