Community turns out for KCSL Red Stocking Breakfast

12/3/2012

By ANGIE HAFLICH

By ANGIE HAFLICH

ahaflich@gctelegram.com

More than 250 people came out Saturday morning for the Kansas Children's Service League's ninth annual Red Stocking Breakfast at Lone Star Steakhouse.

Considering all of the other activities going on over the weekend, Janice Parks, president of KCSL's Community Leadership Development Council, thought it was a really good turnout.

"It's down from last year, but K-State (football) plays today and KU (basketball) played last night," Parks said on Saturday. "So, we've had lots of things like that."

Parks' husband, Kevin Parks, owner of Old Fashioned Limo Service, provided horse-drawn carriage rides in the parking lot, as celebrity volunteers served plates of scrambled eggs, bacon, French toast sticks, fresh fruit and biscuits and gravy.

"There's been a line all day for the carriage rides," Jeff Pfingsten, KCSL development manager, said.

Parks said that all of the proceeds from the breakfast, KCSL's primary fundraising event, go toward funding KCSL's programs.

"It helps fund the Headstart program, it helps us with our Prevent Child Abuse and also our Period of Purple Crying that we do, and then it helps with just the classrooms, supplies," Parks said.

While these programs are federally or state funded, and receive additional support from the local United Way and other grant sources, they also rely on Red Stocking Breakfast funds to fully serve their area.

The Garden City location of KCSL has a goal of raising $35,000 for the 13 western Kansas counties it serves, including Finney, Gray, Grant, Haskell, Kearny, Kingman, Pratt, Scott, Seward, Stafford, Stanton, Stevens and Wichita counties.

During the breakfast, there was also a silent auction, with proceeds also going to KCSL's programs.

"We have a piece of jewelry from Goldworks and piece of jewelry from Linenbergers, and then we have two sets of movie ticket packages from Mitchell Theaters that they donated — 10 movie tickets in each package — so we're doing a silent auction. We'll go through Monday and figure out who had the highest bid for those items, and then they'll be contacted and pay for it," Parks said.

KCSL's mission is to protect and promote the well-being of children. As part of this mission, the organization aims to prevent child abuse by providing education and support to those families who are most at risk. The Period of Purple Crying program is one such program, and its aim is to prevent shaken baby syndrome.

"We have DVDs that we give to the hospital and the hospital gives out to every new parent that's there. They actually watch it at the hospital before they leave, and then they take it home with them so we can help try to prevent the frustration from babies crying and not knowing what's going on with them. And it helps the mothers realize that the babies are going to cry, and if you need to take a breath and step back, it's not going to hurt them to cry," Parks said.

Lone Star has hosted the event every year since the breakfast started. General Manager Jeff Sigg said that he, the kitchen manager and a cook started preparing food at 4:30 a.m.

"I couldn't, as the general manager, justify saying, 'Here's what we're going to do for this, but you guys do it. I'll be home in bed, see you at 10 o'clock,'" Sigg said, laughing. "It's worth it. It's for a good cause."

Pfingsten said that corporate sponsors, like Lone Star and Sam's Club, which donated the food, are the key to the event's success.

"We have some very loyal, regular sponsors to the breakfast, so that helps a lot," he said.

The event began in in the 1920s, when KCSL served orphaned children. Back then, the community was invited to make holiday gifts for children living at KCSL's receiving home, a temporary residence for children awaiting foster or adoptive homes. These children would hang their little red stockings in anticipation of the generosity of the community.

KSCL also will hold Red Stocking Breakfast events in Hutchinson, Liberal, Emporia, Kansas City, Topeka and Wichita from now through Dec. 15. For more information, visit www.kcsl.org.

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