Hundreds gather for breakfast with Santa

December 12, 2004|By BONNIE H. BRECHBILL

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Nearly 300 people enjoyed the 14th annual Breakfast with Santa at Red Lobster in Chambersburg Saturday morning.

Molly Wingert, culinary manager for the restaurant, said Red Lobster normally doesn't serve breakfast, but managers, servers, hostesses, line cooks and their children and friends volunteer their time and effort to make the event a success.

According to a news release, all proceeds from the breakfast, which is $3 for adults and $2 for children, benefit the Chambersburg Toy Mission. Between 800 and 1,100 children benefit from the mission's efforts each year.

Volunteers came in at 6 a.m., Wingert said. Some put in a 10- or 12-hour workday, moving to their regular restaurant shifts when the breakfast was over, she said.


Mr. and Mrs. Claus, portrayed by Shelly and Dick Hoffman of Fayetteville, Pa., sat in the middle of the restaurant to listen to the wishes of children who approached them. The Hoffmans have volunteered as the North Pole couple for 13 years, Dick Hoffman said.

"We do it for the kids," he said. "We just try to give back a little to the community."

A Sunday school class from First Wesleyan Church in Shippensburg, Pa., attended the breakfast, along with teacher Janet Reed and van driver Wendy Bach.

Class member Bryce Barns, 8, of Shippensburg, asked Santa for a remote-controlled airplane and a remote-controlled car. He said that he and his classmates ate breakfast at the restaurant "for Janet to give to Red Lobster so they can give to the people who get toys for toddlers."

Colton Cook, 8, of South Mountain, Pa., attended with his father, Tim Cook. Colton asked Santa for a Stingray bike, among other items.

"He had 17 things in his letter to Santa," Tim Cook said. "He mailed it yesterday."

Serving breakfasts and clearing off tables was Kasaun Shaffer, 12, of Chambersburg, whose mother is a server at Red Lobster. The Chambersburg Area Middle School sixth-grader was helping out for the second year. His mother taught him the ropes last year, and he scurried confidently around the restaurant, doing whatever needed to be done. Kasaun said he enjoyed "getting to know other people" at the event.

Most of the tables in the large restaurant were filled.

"It's the best turnout in five years," Wingert said. "It's been nonstop full this morning. We'll serve at least 250 to 300. This is for anyone in the community who wants to eat a $3 breakfast here to contribute to the Toy Mission."

Toy Mission volunteers ate at 7:30 a.m., then went out on trucks to deliver toys, Wingert said.

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