Greenwich Lions to host 58th Pancake Breakfast this weekend
GREENWICH — Celebrating a semicentennial tradition, the Greenwich Lions Club will offer fluffy breakfast pastries aplenty for residents attending its largest fundraiser of the year.
From 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. this Saturday the club’s 58th Annual Pancake Breakfast will be held at the Eastern Greenwich Civic Center, 90 Harding Road, Old Greenwich. Funds raised from the event will go towards grants to other organizations and providing glasses and other vision services to the community.
“This is our biggest fundraiser,” said Treasurer Alan Gunzburg on Tuesday. “We usually have about 700 people or 1,000 people... so we are hoping to have a fair turnout and make a fair amount of money so that we can deliver money back to the community.”
Pancake breakfast tickets are $10 per person and there is a $2 discount for children aged 6 through 11. Children under 5 years old can come to the breakfast for free.
The breakfast will also feature door prizes, a bake sale, a band, free pediatric eye screenings for children aged 2 through 6, face painting and visiting puppies from local guide dog organizations.
Gunzburg, who lives with visual impairments himself and utilizes the services of a guide dog, said almost $10,000 were raised at least year’s breakfast and went to serving the Greenwich Lions Club cause.
“I’ve been a Lion for 10-plus years,” he said. “This is, I think, my 11th year, and I became a Lion because of what they do with people who are visually impaired.
“The lions were charged by Helen Keller at one of their earliest conventions to be the knights for the blind,” he said. “So we have a lot of vision programs we run.”
The Greenwich Lions Club has offered microgrants to: the Greenwich Campership program, Abilis, BluePath Service Dogs, Freedom Guide Dogs, Boy Scouts of America Greenwich Council, Call-A-Ride of Greenwich, Canine Companions for Independence, Greenwich United Way Community Answers, YMCA and YWCA of Greenwich, Meals on Wheels of Greenwich, Neighbor-to-Neighbor, Pathways and others.
This year was also the first year the organization’s “Kidsight” program went through all Greenwich public schools to offer screenings for children in kindergarten, first, fourth and fifth grade.
With $15,000 worth of equipment split between two new eye-screening machines, the Greenwich Lions were able to rely not on simple eyecharts that can exclude children with autism or limited speech capabilities, but analyze the eyesight of more than 2,000 children.
“You don’t have to identify (a letter),” Gunzburg said, “you just have to have them keep their eyes open for a couple seconds. It does make a difference.
“And doing this for the kids in this town,” he said, “providing this service, making sure we find out who needs help, who doesn’t — for somebody like me, for a person with... my sight issues, this is very important... and I believe that it’s life changing for these kids.”
The Greenwich Lions Club also has its own Lions Low Vision Center at Greenwich Hospital and is opening one at Stamford Hospital in the near future.
“One of the things that happens when you lose vision,” Gunzburg said, “is you lose the ability to get information because you don’t read, because you can’t read. The idea of information, as far as I stand — information isn’t something that’s good to have, information is your right.
“You have a right to the information around you,” he said. “So we try to help people continue with a full life doing the things that they once did in a full way, and that’s what Low Vision is all about.”
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