It’s said that everything is bigger in Texas. When it comes to pancakes, Mexia Lions just might hold the title to the biggest and best. Their “Double Whammy” is an eagerly awaited local tradition that kicks off the start of the high school football season in Mexia. Since 1994, Lions have been serving up the Double Whammy with plates loaded with pancakes, sausage and bacon, cooked and served by Lions for just $5 a ticket. And it gets even better: the price includes all you can eat. The grills are fired up at 4 a.m. in readiness for hungry diners who begin arriving at 7 a.m. for the one-day event each September. The club is locally famous for its Double Whammy days, so called because the meal is served in the morning and again in the evening. Lions surrender their spatulas before the game begins. Football is a huge sport in Texas, and people want to root for their home team without distractions. “The Double Whammy allows the community to concentrate on the game and not worry about cooking,” says Linda Flatt. “The early ‘Whammies’ were learning experiences. All of the cooking was done in the den and everybody involved smelled like pancakes and bacon all day. Small electric grills were used and fuses blew all day long. The batter was mixed in small batches with conventional mixers and the stuff got over everything and everybody,” Flatt points out. “Nowadays all the cooking is done outside under an awning on propane-fired grills that make for delicious food. The batter is mixed in a five-gallon bucket using a custom paint mixer and an electric hand drill.” Lions raise between $1,400 and $2,000 annually to fund eye exams and glasses for students who can’t afford them. The sale is so popular that not only do people line up for these platter-sized pancakes, more than 100 take-out meals were also sold and delivered by Lions in 2009—setting a new record. Lions in Ottawa, Illinois, know their way around a kitchen as well as a good fundraising project. Carol Downey, a Lion and Realtor, proposed that Lions take advantage of the 2009 holidays to raise some money to support the club’s sight activities. She says she’s long enjoyed baking with her mother’s family recipes, and the catchy “Pies for Eyes” name was ideal to describe the club’s latest project to the community. Known for baking pies to take to sick friends, Downey decided that Lions could make money by selling pies to community members too busy to bake their own holiday pies. “Everybody really likes the idea of homemade pies but lots of people don’t bake or have the time,” she reasoned. With Thanksgiving approaching, Lions quickly set to work creating the perfect pie with assembly line precision at their Lions Club Hall, which, fortunately, comes equipped with a complete kitchen. Their first baking session netted 118 pies in four hours. Keeping costs down by using bushels of donated apples that Lions peeled themselves, club members were able to make an average net profit of around $4.50 for each apple, pumpkin and cherry pie sold. “Our club is really good this way,” she says, “Everybody pitched in. All Lions—men and women—worked.” In fact, she says, not only did the men help produce the pies, “three of them even graciously offered to serve as quality control inspectors,” she laughs. There were plenty of people waiting in line to sample Lions’ pies, however, judging from the orders that quickly came in from door-to-door sales and local radio and newspaper coverage. Pies sold at $8 apiece for frozen and $12 for ready-to-eat. By the time the holiday season arrived, 440 had been sold. They were boxed in attractive containers emblazoned with the Lions emblem. “One of our oldest Lions, who’s 80-something, sold more pies than anyone else. He got the prize—a pie, of course,” Downey jokes. She says the pie sale will turn into a yearly event for Ottawa Lions, who plan to buy a freezer just to store all the pies they anticipate baking and selling next year.
Published by International Association of Lions Clubs . View All Articles.
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