Custodian’s breakfast will aid ‘backpack’ charity

Jim Grider, the custodian at Ascension School, 4600 Lynnbrook Drive, began a tradition years ago that has provided the school’s students, staff — even its neighbors — a chance to make an everyday event work for a good cause.

The events are called “Mr. Grider’s Breakfast,” and according to a news release from Rosemary Cavanaugh, pastoral associate at Ascension, the next event will be held from 6:30 a.m. to 8 a.m. Sept. 18.

“Jim buys the food himself and secures volunteers to help cook and serve,” Cavanaugh said in the release. “He sets a goal for the school and then provides a treat for reaching that goal. Fifty percent of the funds raised (through breakfast sales) go toward a school program and the other 50 percent goes to the project he’s selected.”

The project this time is Blessings in a Backpack. With the help of the parish’s Social Responsibility Committee, students are made aware of a particular need within the community or around the world — such as Blessings in a Backpack.

That program provides supplemental nutrition to children who are on the federal Free or Reduced Price Meal Program. Cavanaugh said Grider’s goal for this breakfast is to raise enough funds to provide 100 backpacks for those in need.

“The staff of Blessings in a Backpack will be joining us for breakfast, and the public is invited as well,” Cavanaugh wrote in the news release.

The “Blessings in a Backpack” program not only provides the backpacks for children in need, but also sends food and other items home with them in their donated backpacks.

“And sometimes the backpacks wear out, of course and the children need new ones,” Cavanaugh said in a telephone interview earlier this week.  “It’s a wonderful charity and taking part in helping it gives the students an awareness of the need within the community and around the world.”

Cavanaugh said Grider, the brains behind the breakfasts — which occur usually three or four times a year — has been conducting his program for nearly a decade.

“He’s a pretty good cook, and we’ll have lots of traditional breakfast food available,” she explained. “There will be eggs, sausage and bacon; biscuits and gravy and donuts. All reasonably priced,” Cavanaugh added.

“You could enter with $5, eat a lot for breakfast and probably have money left over,” she said.

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