Rotary Club replaces Fly-In Breakfast with Do-It-Yourself

Submitted Photo Pictured left to right are: Michele D. Starwalt, Rotary Assistant Governor for Area 16 of District 7090; David Tiffany, past chair for the club’s Annual Fly-In Breakfast; Kathleen Peterson, Executive Director of CCRM; and Bridget Majka, CCRM Director of Programs.

A time-honored community tradition is being transformed this year into something completely different, but with a taste of the original.

For more than 50 years, the Dunkirk-Fredonia Rotary Club has been putting on its annual Fly-In Breakfast on the second Sunday in July at the Chautauqua County Airport in Dunkirk. More than 1,200 people usually attend.

This year, club leaders determined that the coronavirus pandemic made it unwise to hold the event as usual. In its place, the club is partnering with Chautauqua County Rural Ministry to fund, assemble and distribute 150 “Do-It-Yourself Pancake Breakfast Kits” for hungry families in the north county region. Lake Shore Savings Bank, which has been a long-term sponsor of the annual Fly-In Breakfast, is providing financial support for the project.

The kits will consist of a box of pancake mix, a dozen eggs, two boxes of frozen fully cooked breakfast sausages, a gallon of milk and a half gallon of orange juice. Locally produced 100% pure maple syrup and a variety of fruit syrups will also be included.

The kits will be available for pick up, at no charge, on Sunday at 11 a.m. at the Chautauqua County Rural Ministry building at 319 Washington Ave., Dunkirk. Because supplies are limited, pre-registration is strongly encouraged. A limited number of the kits will also be sent to the food pantries in Brocton, Silver Creek and Fredonia as well as to the food pantries at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton and the Salvation Army in Dunkirk.

July 12 was chosen as the distribution date because the second Sunday in July is the traditional date for the Fly-In Breakfast.

“We’re certainly hoping to return to full operations in July of 2021,” said David Dengler, club president. “We admire the work done by the Rural Ministry. We know the pandemic has increased the already great need of many in our area, and we were delighted that CCRM was willing to partner with us on this project. We thought the project would be a good way to keep the spirit of the Fly-In Breakfast alive while also serving area families in need.”


In addition to the food items, for families with children the kits will also include balsa-wood airplanes.

“This is Rotary’s way of replacing some of the joy that usually comes from attending the fly-in breakfast in person, with something that kids can do at home,” said club treasurer Jefferson Westwood, who originated the idea for the project.

For most of its history, the annual Rotary Fly-In Breakfast was a project of the Dunkirk Rotary Club. When the Dunkirk and Fredonia Rotary Clubs merged in 2017, it became a project of the merged club. The club is part of Rotary International, the largest and oldest international service organization in the world. Rotary has over 1.2 million members in 35,000 clubs located in 200 countries and geographical areas. The purpose of Rotary is to bring together business and professional leaders in order to provide humanitarian service and to advance goodwill and peace around the world.

The Dunkirk-Fredonia Rotary Club meets weekly at noon on Thursdays. Meetings are currently taking place virtually via Zoom. Recent speakers have included Dennis L. Hefner, interim president of the State University at Fredonia; Robert Keem, general manager of Athenex Pharma Solutions; Christine Schuyler, director of health and human services for Chautauqua County; and Richard Ryan, director of development for the National Comedy Center in Jamestown. More information is available by emailing dunkirkfredoniarotaryclub@gmail.com.


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