Champions of breakfast

Organizers of annual Christmas morning meal seek advance orders from holiday workers, homebound residents

BRATTLEBORO — Hungry for a holiday from cooking breakfast this Christmas? Jadi Flynn and Megan Walker are hoping to help out some people.

Make that 1,000 people.

Flynn and Walker are the granddaughter and great-granddaughter of Charlie Slate, the local man who started the free annual Christmas Breakfast that his family and 60 friends are set to continue for hundreds of diners and delivery recipients.

Slate began the tradition in 1982 upon noticing most restaurants closed for the holiday. This year, volunteers will arrive at Brattleboro's American Legion before dawn to prepare 110 pounds of pancake mix, 210 pounds of eggs, 1,500 hash browns, 2,400 sausage links, and 13 pounds of coffee.

“I barely sleep the night before,” Flynn says, “thinking about feeding all those people,”

“We stress over the littlest things,” Walker adds.

So why aim to beat last year's record of 826 meals by reaching for 1,000?

“When you're doing this,” Flynn says, “you have to have a goal.”

“And it's nice to see the wide variety of people,” Walker adds, “who come from all walks of life.”

The public can participate in several ways. People can bring homemade or store-bought cookies to the Legion anytime during the week leading up to the event.

Brattleboro residents who are homebound or working the holiday can request an in-town Christmas delivery by calling 258-0481 by Dec. 23.

And all can enjoy the meal in person Dec. 25 from 8 to 11 a.m. at the Legion at 32 Linden St.

The event is supported by donations from diners and contributions from Adam's Seafood, Country Kitchen Bakery, Dunkin' Donuts, Farrell Distributing, Reinhart Foodservice, local maple sugarhouses, and four generations of Slate's family who continue the community tradition.

“Some people think it's only for people who need a free breakfast,” Flynn says.

“But it's for everyone,” Walker adds.

“It's just such a wonderful feeling to be able to do this,” Flynn concludes, “and to be able to pay it forward.”

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