BRATTLEBORO — Most people think preparing for Christmas means shopping for presents. Jadi Flynn and Megan Walker have their sights set on something else: 14 pounds of coffee, 140 pounds of pancake mix, 270 pounds of eggs, 1,920 hash browns, and 3,200 sausage links.
Flynn and Walker are the granddaughter and great-granddaughter, respectively, of Charlie Slate, the local man who started the town's free annual Christmas Breakfast.
His family and friends are ready to continue the tradition for hundreds of diners and delivery recipients Dec. 25.
Slate began the breakfast in 1982 upon noticing most restaurants closed for the holiday. This year, 60 volunteers will arrive as early as dawn at American Legion Post 5 to serve up food from 8 to 11 a.m.
“I barely sleep the night before,” Flynn says, “thinking about feeding all those people.”
“We stress over the littlest things,” Walker adds.
Even so, the two hope to beat 2018's record of 902 meals by reaching 1,000 this year.
“When you're doing this, you have to have a goal,” Flynn says. “It's just such a wonderful feeling to be able to do this and to be able to pay it forward.”
“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 bake and bring cookies to the Legion starting Dec. 21 for distribution to local public safety and health-care workers as well as people who attend the event.
Brattleboro residents who are homebound or working the holiday can request an in-town Christmas delivery by calling or texting 802-258-0481 by Monday, Dec. 23.
And all can enjoy the meal in person on Christmas morning on Wednesday at the Legion Home at 32 Linden St., with updates available on the Charlie Slate Memorial Christmas Breakfast's Facebook event listing.
The event is supported by donations from diners and contributions from area businesses, local maple sugarhouses, and the four generations of Slate's family who continue the community tradition.
“Because we're inching toward that 1,000 mark, we're ordering more food,” Flynn says. “Some people think it's only for people who need a free breakfast.”
“It's open to everybody,” Walker says. “If you don't want to cook, come on down.”