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With Lent looming, churches and organizations are preparing to flip for Shrove Tuesday, the big blowout before the 40 days and nights of fasting.

The whole fasting practice might be not be adhered to as strictly by most Christians nowadays but Pancake Tuesday, Fat Tuesday and Mardi Gras are still a popular way to usher in the Lenten season.

At St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Piney Parish the youth group made up of teens 12 to 16, with the aid of adult volunteers, serves about 160 meals during the event that has been held for as long as churchgoers can recall, said Susan Parody, who helps organize the popular event.

“Shrove Tuesday is the day proceeding Lent,” she explained. “It’s a way to use up all the rich foods eggs, sugar, milk before the fasting season.”

Parody said recently that a group went shopping at BJ’s Wholesalers and came back with four huge boxes of pancake mix in preparation for the supper. In addition, the group plans scrambled eggs, hash browns and other dishes, but the flapjacks are the main draw.

“We have pancakes galore,” Parody said.

At Metropolitan United Methodist Church in Indian Head, the church’s women’s group takes charge of the Shrove Tuesday supper and have been since at least the 1980s. The event is open to the community and draws a crowd.

Down the road at Indian Head United Methodist Church, the women’s group mans the pancake supper.

“It’s a fun way to interact and join with others,” said Nina Carroll, who has been a member of the church for 15 years.

While some supplies are bought at BJ’s where bulk items are a bit less expensive, a small local market provides the sausage, Carroll said.

“We have a little bit more on the menu,” said Carroll of what the church has to offer on Shrove Tuesday.

The proceeds from the event go toward the women’s missions projects, which include supporting Neighbors Eager To Serve, a community group in Western Charles County that aids people in need.

The women of the church begin to plan the supper a few weeks in advance.

“It’s a labor of love,” Carroll said.

staylor@somdnews.com