Students in Pancakes for Poverty have Philanthropic Appetite

On Wednesday mornings, Pancakes for Poverty invades the quad, bringing with them ‘80s music, a megaphone, philanthropic spirit and most of all, a passion for pancakes that cannot be matched.

The club cannot only be seen, but also heard, as its members work hard to raise awareness and attention in their effort to sell as many $1 pancakes as possible outside the Union each month. Pancake proceeds are donated to the Eastern Illinois Food Bank, but the club focuses on much more than raising money.

“On one end, I see it as a club to help alleviate poverty in central Illinois and the Champaign area, which is important, but another goal I have for the club is to provide an outlet for kids at this university to do something kind of goofy and funny and feel okay doing it,” said Alex Ronning, the club president and senior in LAS.

The club uses humor to keep their members having fun and to gain recognition as a club that loves what they do.

Members use slogans like “feed your stomach and your conscience” and “buy back the karma you lost last night” to keep engaging customers.

“A theme of our club is to be as funny as possible,” Ronning said.

Ronning founded the club his sophomore year, and it proceeded to grow exponentially as it went from seven to 70 members.

The club’s current size makes it necessary to split the members into committees, ranging from ‘game-day relations’ to a philanthropy committee.

“At first, we only had a few people, but so far this year, each meeting has had 20 to 50 people, so I think we’ve grown a lot and because of that we’ll be able to do more beneficial work for charities,” said Tommy Stern, a junior in LAS and head of the charity committee.

The club’s growth has helped to raise almost $700, but Stern has been working hard to research ways that the organization can do charitable work outside the pancakes sales.

“We’re trying to do actual volunteer work besides selling the pancakes,” Stern said. “We’re trying to research working at soup kitchens.”

While Stern looks to diversify the club’s work, Mike Boshardy, a senior in LAS, works to maximize its visibility.

“We want people to hear ‘pancakes for poverty’ and to know exactly what that is and exactly what they do and who they are,” Boshardy said. No matter the event, whether it be a pre-sale meeting or a cook-off with the French club, the club wants to stress the importance of enjoying the work that Pancakes for Poverty does.

“If you’re in Pancakes for Poverty, it’s because you want to help people, and you will,” Ronning said.

Joining the club is free and can be done by going to their website, and clicking the “Join the Fight” hyperlink.

“Its a lot of fun, you get to help people, and we make the best T-shirts you will see from any philanthropic organization.” Boshardy said. “If you give a crepe about poverty, I would definitely join Pancakes.”