First pancake breakfast a hit for Recover Project

  • People gather at Saint James Church in Greenfield for the Recover Project's pancake breakfast Saturday. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • Debbie Tanzer serves up a plate of pancakes with Peter Hadley and Brandon Comeau at the Recover Project's pancake breakfast at Saint James Church in Greenfield Saturday. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • Attendees of the Recover Project's pancake breakfast are served at Saint James church in Greenfield Saturday, March 11, 2017. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt—Matt Burkhartt

  • An attendee of the Recover Project's pancake breakfast helps himself to syrup at Saint James church Saturday, March 11, 2017. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt—Matt Burkhartt

Recorder Staff
Sunday, March 12, 2017

GREENFIELD — It’s 5:15 in the morning. Tammy Armstrong is up, getting ready to drive a kid from Athol. It’s not a workday, though — it’s a pancake day.

Armstrong headed to the church across the street from The RECOVER Project. It’s not Sunday, either — it’s Saturday and over 80 people in the community had bought tickets in advance for the big day.

By the end of the morning over 150 people, not just from Greenfield but around the community, headed to Saint James Episcopal Church for volunteer-made, freshly-whipped-up pancakes — blueberry, strawberry and chocolate chip — for the first pancake breakfast hosted by The RECOVER Project.

“You may have sat by yourself for pancake dinner,” member Armstrong said, taking a break from cooking in the church kitchen. “But then you might have met someone who’ll save your life.”

The event acted as a fundraiser for the group’s big event. The 14th annual Recovery Jam Sober Music Festival will be Sept. 30 at Camp Keewanee this year. To help throw an even better event, they hosted this pancake fundraiser and sold tickets ahead of time.

“This is a huge success,” said Heather Taylor, the head organizer of the event and facilitator of the social involvement community. “We’re ecstatic by the turnout we have.”

In addition to members and their friends and families the deputy police chief Mark Williams and Opioid Task Force coordinator Debra McLaughlin attended.

“It’s always great to see an incredible community response to the work of the recovery community and the task force,” the Opioid Task Force’s McLaughlin said.

Come the tail end of the event, tables were bustling with friends and families chatting. Kids ran around together, some searching for more chocolate chip pancakes.

“This is after 10 years of all of those things blossoming and then this kind of thing happens,” RECOVER Project member Kaitlyn A. John said.

She spoke to the fact that the recovery community is finally starting to gel. Groups are partnering up and supporting each other, creating a more tight-knit and conducive space for recovery.

“For our first event and even if it was the 10th event, it was amazing,” John said.

In addition to the pancakes, they served up local syrup, donated by Kleeberg’s Sugar House, Gould’s Sugar House, Round Mountain Sugar House and Upinngil Farm.

The idea for the event led to an event that not only raised funds but also brought friends together in the same space on a cool, windy March day.

For member Troy Purcell, this is the kind of thing that helps make The RECOVER Project great. “If you have an idea, you have people who will back it up,” he said.

Furthermore for Purcell, this event is important to have as the opioid epidemic continues to escalate around the country and in the Franklin County community.

“I think it’s one of those things that you can’t lock it in the closet anymore,” Purcell said. “I’ve seen this community step up.”

And the community was in full swing Saturday morning.

“To see a room full like this and everybody talking — if you were at a restaurant, it wouldn’t be like this,” Armstrong said.

Reach the reporter at jsolomon@recorder.com

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