Sadly, the Knysna Sedgefield Hospice Pancake Team has retired. I interviewed Libby van Tonder whose initiative it was to start the Pancake Team and this is what she has to say about her truly valued contribution to our organistion over the years…
“I have always had a great interest in Hospice, but I really started feeling that I wanted to make a real contribution when my father died of cancer 9 years ago and Hospice played such a big role in terms of visiting him twice a day making sure that he was comfortable and secondly making sure that we as a family were informed of his condition and comforted at all times during that difficult time. They became a shoulder to lean on and as I have learnt over the years, the Hospice doctors, staff & nurses are true angels to each and every one who has dealings with the organization. I have learnt that Hospice takes care of all people who need palliative care and I’ve also realized that the time, hours & compassion involved from the side of Hospice is immeasurable and I wanted to be a part of that service and also to be able to make a financial contribution to the organisation.
I initially became a soup and bread volunteer where I provided about 5 litres of soup and 2 loaves worth of sandwiches every 2nd Tuesday. I did that for about 2-3 years until I took over the running of the library at Bond House.
I used to bake pancakes to raise funds when my children were little and in Primary School, then High School and thereafter sometimes when they needed a stand-in. The recipe originated from Mrs Suzette Cronje from the Knysna Primary School all those years ago. She was my son’s Std 1 teacher and that was when it all started! Because I was so familiar with this activity, I thought it a possibility once I realized that I couldn’t do the library as frequently as was needed. By that stage I knew who the strong Hospice supporters were within my circle of friends so it was easy to get a team of willing people together to support me in this drive.
There are so many people out there who like to do good or support charities and we did it in such a fun way that we often had to turn people away just because none of the team wanted to work shifts. They preferred to give it their all for as long as the event was running – made for sore feet & backs but very happy volunteers at the end of the day because we knew that we personally made all those pancakes. They were proud to be doing it and never wanted to be left out. They didn’t even want to leave their positions for a break in case somebody dared take their place! Many years of great fun and laughter was had while making very necessary money for Knysna Sedgefield Hospice. We have such a strong bond as the pancake team, and believe me, we were all tearful on Sunday (6th November 2016) when we finally hung up our boots.
To keep the queues short yet sell so many pancakes at the same time is always tricky as people can get sooooo impatient! The magic is in the person taking the orders and money to inform customers that there is a waiting time when we find that we are running behind. He/she will take their order and their money and give them an approximate time to come back for their pancakes. We often don’t have a chance to really build up stock but we also preferred not to keep them for too long because pancakes are at their best when freshly made.
We have been making pancakes to raise money for Knysna Sedgefield Hospice for about 3 years. We were involved at the Motor show for 2 days, the Hill Climb for the first time earlier this year (3 days) and the Leisure Isle Festival for 2 days. We had also had a stand during the Knysna marathon about 2 years ago where we did pancakes and prego rolls – it proved to be very successful and very busy.
We each mix and donate a batter to start the first day with and then it is up to the team to either get mixtures donated for the next day or to make up another mixture themselves at their own cost as and when needed. We do the same with the cinnamon and sugar, each member of the team is required to try and get some cash donations so that we end up having no expenses whatsoever. Everything we made goes directly to Knysna Sedgefield Hospice. We raised anything from R5000 to R8000 on very busy days but we have been known to do much less in the earlier days. We used to get excited about R3000! I would like to think the pancake team raised around the R400 000 mark over the years for Knysna Sedgefield Hospice and we are so proud to have been able to do this!”
Many thanks to Libby and her friends who raised money for the patients of Knysna Sedgefield Hospice. You will be so missed by us all and by many Knysna locals too!