Jakob Gionest, left, flips pancakes under the supervision of Dennis Anglea during a pancake breakfast for the community at the Second Congregational Church in Biddeford on Sunday. The free breakfast has been served at the church every Sunday morning since January 2016. ED PIERCE/Journal Tribune

Jakob Gionest, left, flips pancakes under the supervision of Dennis Anglea during a pancake breakfast for the community at the Second Congregational Church in Biddeford on Sunday. The free breakfast has been served at the church every Sunday morning since January 2016. ED PIERCE/Journal Tribune

BIDDEFORD — It’s not the fanciest food served on fine china in a trendy restaurant, but for visitors to the Second Congregational Church in Biddeford on Sunday mornings, the weekly pancake breakast is a decent meal that keeps them connected to the community they live in.

Young and old, rich and poor, and anyone seeking a meal prepared on the griddle right in front of them make their way to the church on Crescent Street each Sunday to enjoy a weekly spread of eggs, french toast, bacon, coffee, juice, milk, rolls, and of course, pancakes.

Dennis Anglea oversees the kitchen at the church for the pancake breakfasts and says the program is entirely free and supported by donations from the community.

“Most Sundays we have about 45 eating here, but we’ve fed as many as 72 at one time,” Anglea said. “We cook and serve from 8 until 9:30 a.m. every Sunday morning.”

Jakob Gionest, 12, has been working as the flapjack chef for the pancake breakast for the past 10 weeks.

He says he’s learned that the secret to preparing great pancakes is to watch them carefully.

“When you see them bubble up, that’s when you should flip them over,” he said. “And then you have to watch them closely and not let them burn.”

Gionest said he asked to volunteer to help with the pancake breakfast because it’s worthwhile and meaningful to those who are hungry and might not be able to afford to cook breakfast at home..

“The best part of all of this is that we’re helping others and giving back to our community,” he said. “The food’s pretty good too.”

Dale Berube is the newest member of the breakfast team at the church and his task is to wash the dishes the food is served on after the meals have been eaten.

“It’s not such a bad job,” Berube said. “I try to keep up and usually by the time the breakfast is over, I’m done washing the dishes.”

He said the best part of his job is eating the pancakes, but he also appreciates the chance to help others.

“What we’re doing here is important,” Berube said. “It’s giving back of yourself to others and makes you feel good inside.”

Gary Barclay has been volunteering with the breakast program for several months and said the church’s recipe for churning out tasty pancake batter is simple.

“It’s Betty Crocker,” he said. “To make this all happen every Sunday morning we have to have the timing down right. That means having food ready when the people walk in through the doors.”

Anglea is usually the first to arrive on Sundays at begins the preparations for the breakast about 7 a.m. 

“We usually cook about 70 eggs, five pounds of bacon, then there’s all the bread and all the rest,” he said. “This has all been going on every Sunday since January 2016.” 

Purchasing food for the breakfast is done weekly and supported financially by the Bon Appetit Community Meal Program, donations from the community and some food is donated by area restaurants and nearby grocery stores.

“For us this is good community outreach,” Anglea said. “It’s a simple thing, but one that means a lot to so many.

— Executive Editor Ed Pierce can be reached at 282-1535 ext. 326 or by email at [email protected]


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