2014 | News

Local Restaurant to Serve Christmas Breakfast for Needy

For the 12th straight year, the Original Pancake House will welcome hundreds of disadvantaged families and individuals

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Courtesy Photo from the Christmas breakfast at The Bethesda Original Pancake House

While many local families open gifts Christmas morning, the Bulman family will be serving up breakfast to nearly 2,000 needy individuals.

Each year, Bethesda’s Jeff and Jane Bulman, who own the local Original Pancake House franchises, hosts a Christmas breakfast at their Bethesda and Falls Church, Va. restaurants.

This Christmas Bulman says he expects about 700 people in Bethesda and 1,200 in Falls Church. To handle the demand, Bulman has enlisted his family and a team of volunteers. He and his son Richard, 40, work the Falls Church location, while Bulman’s wife Jane and their daughter Jessica, 42, manage the Bethesda breakfast.

Together with two shifts of volunteers they serve a Christmas breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, pancakes, coffee, tea and juice.

This will be the twelfth consecutive year the Bulman’s have hosted the breakfasts. “I had always heard of soup kitchens and Thanksgiving dinners to help out the needy, but I wondered what happens on Christmas Day?” said Bulman. “I started asking around and I couldn’t find anything being done locally for Christmas.”

Bulman reached out to local organizations who help the needy  and let them know he planned to host a breakfast and wanted to invite the people they serve.

“The first year in Bethesda we had more volunteers than guests,” Bulman said. He remembers there being about 60 volunteers and 50 guests. “I was totally embarrassed and kept apologizing to the volunteers.”

But over time, the breakfast grew. Now, Bulman hires buses to transport people to the breakfast and meal schedules have to be coordinated so the restaurants can handle the demand. Beforehand, volunteers also organize a coat drive and this year have knitted over 1,000 scarves to distribute.

For Bulman, who is Jewish, the event represents a way to give back to a community that has been very good to him.

“It’s just something that my wife and I and my kids really feel is an important thing to do,” he said. “When you see the responses you get from these people and the joy you bring to someone who may not get a lot of joy out of life, it feels so good.

“My volunteers say the same thing, they get so much out of it,” Bulman said.