Such was the case this past weekend at St. Bernadine’s Pancake Breakfast. Sunday’s pancake breakfast marks the first of two events that help fund religious education for the school. The other fund-raising event is the St. Joseph’s dinner in March.

“Events such as these make people feel like they are part of something, like they are needed, especially in such smaller communities like St. Bernadine’s,” Ann Stauffer, the school’s director of Religious Education said. “They feel a sense of ownership.”

The small Forest Park parish is struggling financially to sustain its nearly 100-year-old school, but organizers said the annual event is focused on goodwill rather than big bucks.

“The primary function of this event is the spirit of the community, and to trigger some cohesiveness within the parish,” Stauffer said. “The pancake breakfast is about more than just monetary [goals].”

Stauffer expected to see some 400 hungry eaters on Sunday, similar to previous years. The pancake breakfast, which receives most of its food from donors such as Quaker Oats and local grocery stores, expected to bring in approximately $7,000, just as they expected in the last few years, according to Stauffer.

Eleanor Kraft, the principle of St. Bernadine’s, agreed with the overall purpose of Sunday’s pancake breakfast, but admitted that any profit may ease some of the fiscal strain.

“It’s a community affair,” Kraft said. “It’s a chance to get to meet new people. But, it also helps with the financial aspect of C.C.D. and the parish.”

Attending parishioners of the breakfast comprehended the primary purpose of the event as well, but three younger parish members cited additional incentives by attending the event.

“The breakfast is an important part of the community,” Tony McCormick said, who attended the grammar school as a child as did his wife, Tracy. The couple was also married at St. Bernadine and their children, Casey, 6, Brianna, 8, and Danielle, 10, are students there now. “It brings everyone together.”

Jack, 7, Danny, 11, and Matt, 14, all St. Bernadine students, and their parents Brian and Mary Sullivan were enthusiastic in coming together with the rest of the community. Especially when coming together includes an abundance of pancakes and bottomless cups of juice.

“The sausage is definitely the best part,” the clan of Sullivan brothers said.