Throughout the last decade Pancake Day – UnitingCare Victoria and Tasmania’s annual fundraising event – has seen stacks of pancakes sold and more than $1.5 million raised.
Those funds have helped UnitingCare provide practical support to those in need including vulnerable children and adults, families in crisis, young parents and other disadvantaged groups. This year there will be a particular focus on helping families in need.
On 12 February, Shrove Tuesday, congregations from throughout the Synod as well as community groups and workplaces will get out their frypans and make pancakes by the thousands to sell.
In Launceston, the day will have a festive atmosphere with a special guest appearance from the Pancake Day mascot Penny Pancake, who will travel from Melbourne for the big event.
State Health Minister Michelle O’Byrne will flip the first pancake and members from the city’s four congregations will gather at Civic Square.
As well as selling pancakes they will conduct the annual pancake races, which attract up to a dozen four-member teams from local businesses, government agencies and community groups.
They will all be seeking to knock off the reigning champions, Scotch Oakburn College, which entered a seriously fit team last year to grab bragging rights in an event which has grown from simply being a bit of fun to a fair dinkum contest. As well as the popular teams’ race, pre-schoolers and those over 80 will have their own events this year.
The activities – the brainchild of Pilgrim minister Rev Tony Duncan –will run from 10 am until 2 pm and have become an integral part of summer in the Northern Tasmanian city.
“It is a way of getting the community involved (with the day),” Rev Duncan said.
“We expect to get at least a dozen teams this year.”
Annually, the day raises between $1500 and $2000 for UnitingCare Tasmania. Mr Duncan said it was easy to get volunteers because many knew first-hand the work of the agency in the north of the state. UnitingCare director Charles Gibson said Pancake Day was a fantastic opportunity to bring people together for a fun day and support UnitingCare’s work in helping families.
“Many families, through no fault of their own, find themselves in crisis as a result of various issues which can range from homelessness and financial hardship, illness to abusive relationships,” he said.
“We are asking for people to participate in Pancake Day to help us support families through the countless services our agencies provide.”