It was surprisingly quiet in the kitchen at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church Sunday morning.
It was so quiet, in fact, you could hear French toast sizzling on the stove.
Three men and one boy concentrated intently on their tasks: scrambling eggs, toasting bread, browning French toast and spooning out steaming bowls of oatmeal.
“They come at you all at once, that’s the only problem,” said Deacon Octavio Guz as he tried to make sense of eight order slips neatly arranged on a stainless steel work table.
“Randy, this is for Table 2,” Guz called through the pass-out window, handing over a plate of scrambled eggs.
Sunday, 15 male volunteers came together to provide a free Mother’s Day brunch for church members and the community.
Church member Gabe Moronta was helping in the kitchen along with his dad, Alexander.
“They call me the Toast Master,” Gabe announced with pride. “I already went through more than four bags.”
The 9-year-old was volunteering his time in honor of his mom, Joannie, whom he said does lots of nice things for him.
“She actually helps me with my homework and she does the laundry for me and my brothers,” he pointed out.
Gabe’s two older brothers showed their appreciation for Mom by helping serve the food Gabe and his dad were churning out.
Fourteen-year-old Joey, dressed in a black T-shirt with a tuxedo design printed on it, also had good things to say about her.
“She teaches us right from wrong and if you make a mistake, she corrects us and she’ll fix what we did wrong,” he said.
His older brother, Kristian, 15, added to the accolades, saying Mom is a source of constant support.
“If I ever need her for anything, she’s always there for me. She’s the best mom ever,” he said.
At the entrance to the church’s bustling fellowship hall, parishioner Roger Behrens, looking dapper in a gray suit with a white rose pinned to the lapel, greeted guests with great enthusiasm.
This is the third time the church has held the Mother’s Day brunch, he noted. In past years, he’s helped welcome more than 100 guests. He was hoping to see close to 200 Sunday.
helping moms in chile
As moms and their families arrived, a free-will offering was collected to help needy mothers in Chile. The donations will benefit EPES, a health and advocacy program that empowers women, said church member Carol Larkin.
Last year, the event raised about $15,000 to help support the cause.
The brunch was advertised on the church’s electronic sign outside, in hopes community members would stop in to enjoy the sit-down meal, which featured menu items including Deacon’s Baked Delight — a combination of sausage, eggs, sharp cheddar cheese and bread; and The French Panarese — “delicately prepared” French toast with a touch of cinnamon and a dusting of powdered sugar.
Parishioner Deane Vedder was part of Sunday’s volunteer staff. His mom passed away just about a year ago, he said. He remembered her fondly as he patrolled the fellowship hall, a white coffee carafe in each hand.
“My mother was an LPN. She was a remarkable woman. She raised four kids on her own and worked full time,” he recalled.
Jim Roberts, one of the event’s organizers, was wrestling plastic covers onto juice cups for kids Sunday morning. He was also keeping a sharp eye out for any woman who might dare try to serve herself coffee, sternly telling her to sit back down so one of the male volunteers could wait on her.
He stepped away from his work for a minute to call attention to the Mother’s Day banner on the wall. Painted handprints had been arranged on it to form a large, multicolored heart. Below were photos of the brunch volunteers’ families.
Roberts pointed out his family picture.
“My mother is the white-haired lady. She’s going to be 90 years old in November and she lives with us, so I tell her I don’t give her a Mother’s Day gift; I’m the gift that keeps on giving,” he joked.
The brunch was a way to pay tribute to women like his mom and also to provide no-cost way for people to treat the important ladies in their lives to a nice meal, said Roberts, who is the son of a pastor.
“My mom was stuck with raising four brats while my father was working on Sunday mornings and she’s totally unflappable,” he praised.
His mother now suffers from dementia, and although she planned to attend Sunday’s breakfast, Roberts said she probably wouldn’t remember having been there.
“It’s just one of those things that I do because she did so much for me as a kid,” he explained. “The love is there; that’s what we’re doing here.”