The West Hempstead Lions Club’s Super Bowl pancake breakfast made a triumphant return on Sunday after Covid interfered with the event in 2021 and 2022.
The breakfast has been a tradition for the Lions Club for decades, but that changed in 2021 when the club could not host any Super Bowl events. In 2022, the club hosted a pancake breakfast later in the year, but it was not on Super Bowl Sunday. Nella Verderosa, president of the West Hempstead Lions Club, was ecstatic to return the breakfast where it belongs.
“The energy this year was great, and it felt like everything was back to normal,” Verderosa said. “I am just so happy. Our tradition is back.”
According to Verderosa, about 90 people showed up to the event on Sunday, Feb. 12.
“The breakfast in 2020 was probably the last in-person event that people went to without realizing it,” Verderosa said.
The club celebrated its 75th anniversary last April. According to Verderosa, the breakfast tradition is estimated to be about 60 to 70 years old in the Lions Club International and 35 years old in the West Hempstead Lions Club division.
Pancakes, eggs, coffee, and more were provided to those who paid to attend the event. All the proceeds went to the West Hempstead Lions Club and other organizations.
“Any time there has been a disaster, we donated either supplies or money to wherever the disaster was,” Verderosa said. “We also had an event at the Air and Space Museum for children with autism and their families and we use some of the money for that.
“We collect toiletry items to donate to the INN in Hempstead and cook at the Ronald McDonald House in New Hyde Park for the families of children in hospitals,” Verderosa added.
Some of the money from the pancake breakfast goes to the club’s annual scholarship fund for high school seniors living in West Hempstead.
The club also collects eyeglasses to recycle at every Super Bowl breakfast. “The Lions Club is considered the Knights of the Blind,” Verderosa said. “And so vision is a very big part of the Lions Club.”
Verderosa added that the club collects the eyeglasses, brings them to a county or state distributor, who then distributes them to people that “need or cannot afford them. We’ve collected thousands of eyeglasses over the years,” she said.
Due to all of the organizations that the West Hempstead Lions Club is able to help from the pancake breakfast, Verderosa said the event is the club’s “biggest fundraiser of the year.”
Raffles were given out at the breakfast with the chance to win multiple prizes. “We had two baskets with candy in them and we call those ‘Easter Baskets,’” Verderosa said. “And then we also had a wine basket, a basket for a dog grooming company, a couple of children’s baskets, and a Lotto basket, which was a big hit.”
The West Hempstead Lions Club also has organized smaller fundraisers in the past. “We’ve done a Bingo night and a wine painting night,” Verderosa said.
However, the pancake breakfast still takes the reign as the “biggest fundraiser” and Verderosa said she was very happy to bring it back this year.
The next West Hempstead Lions Club event, the Easter egg hunt, will take place in April, she said.
Verderosa said she is excited that the club is going back to in-person activities again and looks forward to future fundraising events.