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Fat Tuesday sale draws loyal volunteers

February 16, 2009|By JANET HEIM

HAGERSTOWN -- For six years, Shayla Hoffman, 19, has missed a good night's sleep the Monday before Fat Tuesday, but all for a good cause -- doughnuts.

Hoffman is a Hagerstown native and lifelong member of Washington Square United Methodist Church.

The church's annual doughnut sale, which has been going on for at least 50 years, is held the day before Ash Wednesday, also known as Shrove Tuesday or Fat Tuesday. This year Shrove Tuesday is Feb. 24.

Hoffman, who lives in Leitersburg with her parents, Kay and Scott Hoffman, graduated from Smithsburg High School two years ago and is a student at Hagerstown Community College. She said she earned most of her student-service learning hours required for high school graduation by volunteering with the doughnut sale.

She said she usually begins her doughnut duty at 8 p.m. Monday and works with a team of about 10 other church members of all ages, including her mother, through the night. Other volunteers help prepare ahead of time for the doughnut making.

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Once all the doughnuts are fried, cooled and bagged, at about 7 or 8 a.m., Hoffman heads home to sleep the day away.

About 1,100 dozen doughnuts are made, either with powdered sugar or plain, which they sell for $2.25 per dozen. The proceeds benefit the Children's Division at the church.

Hoffman said she looks forward to the camaraderie of the doughnut crew as much as the community looks forward to buying and eating the freshly fried dough.

"You get to talk, hang out, have fun," Hoffman said of the experience. "We always say we should do it again during the year, but it takes so much planning."

Hoffman's responsibilities include making batter in the kitchen and running the doughnuts from the adjacent fellowship hall where they're fried, back to the kitchen for cooling and bagging. Even though she doesn't do the frying, she said she smells like grease when she gets home.

Patsy Weigand, who has been in charge of the doughnut sale for more than 20 years, is Hoffman's role model. Hoffman said she hopes one day to take over the ordering from Weigand, which has earned her the nickname "Little Patsy."

Hoffman admits that she has to be in the mood for munching doughnuts, noting that pies are her weakness.

She also helps her parents, who are youth leaders at the church, with youth activities and fundraisers, such as a spaghetti dinner, banquets and upcoming snow tubing.

"It's just fun," Hoffman said.

To place an order for doughnuts, call the church office at 301-739-2653 or Weigand at 301-790-3510.

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