It was flapjacks by the hundreds, and bacon and eggs to boot, on Saturday, February 11 as Bay Ridge Cares hosted a community pancake breakfast.
A little over 200 people had reserved spots at the event, which was held at Holy Cross, 8501 Ridge Boulevard.
“Bay Ridge Cares is really focusing our year on community and bringing people together on common ground,” said Karen Tadross, president of Bay Ridge Cares. “One of the things we always talk about at Bay Ridge Cares is that Bay Ridge is a small town in a big city. If you go to any small town, one of the key events is the community pancake breakfast. That is why we decided to do this. It also allows us to get to know the people that we serve and for them to get to know what we do.”
“This is the first of its kind but it reflects the kind of feeling that we’ve had in Bay Ridge for a long time that we care for each other, that it really is a small town in a big city, and we celebrate our diversity, and we strive to live in harmony with that diversity, and I think we in Bay Ridge do a great job of it,” added Councilmember Vincent Gentile. “We become an example to the rest of the country that we can be diverse but we can still work together like a small town in a big city.”
One of the missions of the event was to bring together people who might not normally get to know each other, Tadross said.
“When we envisioned this event, we envisioned people talking to each other, meeting people that they have never met before,” she explained. “We specifically decided to seat people with ones they did not know. Our goal for today was that everyone walks out of here having had a conversation with someone they would not normally have had in their daily life. We have a hospitality committee that’s going around to all the tables and getting people talking to each other, we put together little chat bags with subjects in them to help them start a conversation.”
Besides the breakfast, there was also activities like Bay Ridge based trivia, coloring for kids, and writing statements on hearts.
“It is a beautiful event,” said resident Francine Nittolo. “I love the ‘what do you love about Bay Ridge’ wall, and it was great getting together with neighbors and having breakfast.”
“The way to a person’s heart is always through the stomach, so this is the way to get a community to come together, this is the way to have a community fall in love with each other,” remarked Assemblymember Pamela Harris who helped serve at the event. “I am in awe and I am in love, and Bay Ridge Cares is phenomenal, and I am going to do the best that i can as an assemblywoman here to make sure that they get the funding needed in order to continue doing what they are doing. I applaud them all for the work that they are doing.”
The event was catered by Tom’s Restaurant. In addition, according to Tadross, more than 50 volunteers “helped set up, serve and clean up today.”