HPNC Pancakes 2 (copy)

University of Chicago Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice Kit Ginzky's first-prize-winning pancakes at the 2020 Hyde Park Neighborhood Club Pancake Breakfast, served with honey from her parents' farm.

The Hyde Park Neighborhood Club's annual Pancake Breakfast fundraiser, heralding the yearly arrival of spring in Hyde Park, will be a virtual event again this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"We were exploring some options of having the breakfast in person, with a one-way outdoor buffet or something like that, but we really didn't think that that would capture the spirit of Pancake Breakfast, of people gathering together," said Development Director Chris Younkin-Wilson in an interview. "We'll try to do that as much as we can, have that community feel online, though of course that's tough to replicate."

Virtual attendees are invited to make pancakes at home on Sunday, April 11; people can post pictures to the Facebook event and compete in a contest for the most creatively presented pancakes. Younkin-Wilson is hopeful that a celebrity flipper will make an appearance as well.

The event will be free, but donations are welcome in order to help fund the nonprofit HPNC's childcare and enrichment programs.

Last year's breakfast was the first neighborhood event to shift online in the face of the first wave of the COVID-19 outbreak. Organizers hope attendees can still experience the event together over cyberspace.

"One of the things we've heard about Pancake Breakfast and one of the big absence I know people have been missing from the pandemic are some of those second-tier community connections, of people you would normally run into on the street, at Pancake Breakfast, and really wouldn't make plans with or try and meet outside," Younkin-Wilson said. "Our goal is to connect those people, even if it is just online."

"It won't be necessarily a live Zoom meeting where people can talk to each other but more of the posting and the commenting is the type of engagement that people can do."

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