Annual Huckleberry Pancake Breakfast to benefit senior center programs, operations

It's huckleberry season, as such, it's also time for the Hoodland Senior Center's Huckleberry Pancake Breakfast. For two days, the staff and volunteers of the center will treat any and everyone to a pancake breakfast from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, Aug. 25, and Sunday, Aug. 26.

Breakfast includes pancakes, sausage, cantaloupe, juice and coffee for $6 per person. Those who buy tickets in advance from the Mountain Building Supply, Clackamas County Bank or the Senior Center, can save $1 per ticket.

Though the pancakes are known to be tasty and the seasonal addition of huckleberries is very popular, center director Ella Vogel said her favorite part of the event is "the people."

Even before taking over as center director three years ago, Vogel said the senior center was a hub through which she could meet new people and also work in her capacity as a financial consultant.

"It was an opportunity to meet all of these people I didn't see otherwise," she explained.

She now enjoys seeing familiar and new faces every year at the annual breakfast.

The breakfast is one of two major fundraisers held by the center each year. It helps bring in hundreds of dollars for the center's general fund to pay for everyday operations, programming — any and everything the center does for the community.

"We're hoping it goes well," Vogel said. "We made $900 last year, which was the most we've ever made doing this, and we love doing this."

Since the center is a nonprofit organization and doesn't receive much in the way of county funding, it relies on fundraisers like the pancake breakfast to fund programs like its shopping shuttle, exercise classes and the upkeep of the center itself, which is open for public use.

Vogel herself is only on staff for 28 hours a week, but she says "it doesn't matter that (my assistant and I) don't get paid as much as they do at other centers."

Vogel and her assistant, Leita Bibler, as the only paid staff, act as Meals on Wheels drivers, gardeners, janitors and anything else as needed.

"(When we took the jobs) I thought a part-time job would keep us out of trouble, and we love it," Vogel added. "Because we love our work, I think it makes the atmosphere (at the center) better. Helping people is really what makes it worthwhile."

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