Irving—The Irving Fire and Police Departments held their 12th annual Blue Christmas Pancake Breakfast at the Plymouth Park Baptist Church on the morning of Saturday, Nov. 13.
“[The pancake breakfast] is kind of my baby, so I’m in charge of helping putting it on,” firefighter Benni Renaud said. “The firemen’s pancake breakfast is one of our fundraisers for Blue Christmas. The people who buy a ticket and get breakfast are supporting Blue Christmas.
“Blue Christmas helps needy families in Irving during the holiday season by providing food and toys. We’ve been going for over 40 years. It got started by Becky Fann, who was a school resource officer, and she was asked by a counselor if she could help with this family that wasn’t going to have a Christmas, so by donations she was able to provide that first family a Christmas with toys and food. And 40 years later here we are. Last year for example we were able to help over 400 families, over 12,000 kiddos.”
Laurie Savele helped by selling t-shirts.
“Blue Christmas is an event where we collect toys and money, so we can have Christmas for families who otherwise wouldn’t have a Christmas,” Savele said. “I think we help out the community tremendously. We usually help about 200 families a year.”
The Blue Christmas Pancake Breakfast also offered a raffle, a silent auction, and some door prizes. Santa Claus appeared and visited with children.
Debbie Dahl, whose late husband was a police officer, helped during the event by selling raffle tickets.
“I love doing this,” Dahl said. “The event is about raising money for toys. We raise money, and people bring toys.We have a silent auction, and we have a raffle, and pancake breakfast. It is all amazing. [The food] is all made by the firemen, because they cook the best. It brings the community together.”
There will be more Blue Christmas events during the holiday season.
“We will start putting dinners together for Thanksgiving and for Christmas,” Dahl said. “We will have other events.”
Irving’s Mayor Rick Stopfer and his wife made an appearance at the breakfast.
“I’ve been coming [to this breakfast] for many years,” Stopfer said. “It’s great everybody comes together. It’s great to see a lot of our old friends who we don’t get to see a lot of the time. They come out for this event because we’re supporting the Blue Christmas.
“There have been a lot of families challenged through the pandemic and other things. It is more important than ever to support the police and fire in their initiative to make a better Christmas for these kids.
“This is one of the things in the community that everybody knows about and everybody attends, because it has been going on for so long. The only thing that has changed is Becky Fann, the one who was in charge of all this, passed away. This was really her baby. She really believed in this and worked on it 12 months a year.”
“We’ve been coming here for the last couple years,” Johnathan Yakel said. “[We came] to support Blue Christmas and help kids to get their Christmas presents.”
Joe Rodriguez and his family attended the event for the first time.
“I like what they’re doing,” Rodriguez said. “I didn’t even know about this, but when we heard about it, we had to come and see it. I think it’s awesome the police department and the fire department help out. I know there are a lot of families that need it.”