HEDRICK — There it was, all lined up, steaming hot and ready to eat.

On every second Sunday of the month, volunteers at the Carl Craft Civic Center in Hedrick prepare what can only be described as a mouth-watering feast.

Biscuits and gravy, potatoes, eggs, pancakes, ham and incredible desserts. It’s the kind of meal Mom used to make before she found out she didn’t have to when the folks in Hedrick began this monthly tradition.

And what a tradition it has become.

Civic center volunteers, too many to mention by name, come together to feed those willing to make a small freewill donation to the civic center. For $5 or $10, whatever you have, it’s an all-you-can-eat Sunday brunch.

It’s organized chaos in the kitchen — formerly the boys and girls locker rooms in the old Hedrick High School gym.

Volunteers are mixing up the pancake batter, scrambling eggs, stirring the sausage gravy and all because they love that old gym.

And the crowd, a steady stream of brunch-goers, lined up to enjoy something delicious.

It’s no secret of my affection for the gymnasium, which once played host to countless HHS basketball games and events. My father — a member of the Hedrick Class of 1956 — and the hundreds of students before and after, know the gym is the last physical reminder of days gone by. It’s also an important part of the Hedrick community.

Over the years, volunteers have held numerous fundraisers in order to remodel and refurbish the gym. If they didn’t, the gym would probably be a distant memory.

But this Sunday brunch fundraising idea has really taken off.

Visitors from all over, not just Hedrick, were there enjoying brunch, and according to those volunteers in the kitchen, do so every month. A few church-goers, along with Hedrick alumni and a few from Ottumwa, Sigourney, Richland and Martinsburg, told me that this monthly brunch was the best way to reconnect with friends.

And there’s no better way to do that than over a hot plate of southern Iowa comfort food.

There’s even entertainment as music is played on a Clavinova for the crowd’s enjoyment.

And all the money raised goes toward that old gym, which still holds a number of events from donkey basketball to wedding receptions, from country music shows to sporting events.

No word yet on how much money was raised during yesterday’s feast, but it’s safe to say that the 224 people who enjoyed all those goodies, will likely make a return trip back. I know I will.

Jeff Hutton is the Courier’s associate editor. He can be reached at (641) 683-5380 or via e-mail at: jeff@ottumwacourier.com.



For Your Information

Sunday brunch is served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the second Sunday of every month at the Carl Craft Civic Center, formerly the Hedrick High School gymnasium. The next brunch will be served on May 11 — Mother’s Day.

A freewill donation is collected with all proceedings going toward the gym’s maintenance and remodeling efforts.

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