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This story has been updated. Refer to the note at the bottom of this story.

The auxiliary of Waldorf Volunteer Fire Department and EMS is gearing up for Shrove Tuesday by preparing to host a pancake dinner for visitors March 4.

The auxiliary started the Shrove Tuesday fundraiser about four years ago, said Cindy Kersey, vice president of the auxiliary and a life member of the fire department, devoting 35 years to the organization.

“We know a lot of citizens in Charles County eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday,” she said, adding that the group figured it would be a good money maker.

The auxiliary also holds popular fish fries Fridays during Lent, quarter auctions and — obviously comfortable with pancakes — hosts pancake breakfasts with Santa and a Halloween pancake breakfast.

But on Shrove Tuesday, pancakes definitely are front and center.

Kersey and her friend Jan Saunders make the flapjacks from scratch.

“[We] have a friendly competition” to see who can make the better pancake. “And they’re both good,” Kersey said.

She leaves the main shopping to department member Mike “ZZ” Zdobysz who she figures will pick up about 20 dozen eggs, 40 pounds of bacon and, new this year, ingredients to make biscuits and sausage gravy and fresh fruit.

In the past, the firehouse on Old Washington Road has served about 100 to 150 people on Shrove Tuesday, and money raised by the event — as with other fundraising efforts by the auxiliary — goes into a general fund to support the department, firefighters and EMS personnel in Fire Station 3, Fire Station 12 in Westlake and EMS Station 3 on St. Ignatius Drive in Waldorf

Having pancakes and other rich food comes from the need to use up fat, eggs and dairy products before the fasting and abstinence of Lent begins, according to American Catholic, a website dedicated to the religion, beliefs and traditions.

One of the largest celebrations in the country is Mardi Gras — or, translated from French, Fat Tuesday — in New Orleans.

It originated from the tradition of feasting on a fattened calf on the last day of carnival, which starts at the end of Christmas to the start of Lent.

The traditional colors of Mardi Gras — purple, green and gold — signify justice, faith and power, respectively.

Shrove Tuesday comes from the custom of “to shrive,” or hear confessions, the site explained.

At Metropolitan United Methodist Church in Indian Head the United Methodist Women prepare for its free dinner by shopping for bacon, turkey and pork sausage, eggs, milk and other ingredients needed for the hundreds of pancakes that will be served.

“We have to get rid of the fattening stuff,” said Rhonda Hill, chairwoman of the Shrove Tuesday celebration committee.

“We have to prepare for communion with Christ in the time of his struggles. [During Lent] you’re training your body and your mind to be more Christ-like,” she said.

The church has been holding Shrove Tuesday celebrations for more than 25 years, Hill said.

During Lent, the church becomes partners with nine other Methodist churches in Charles and Prince George’s counties to hold Wednesday services.

Each week a different church in the “210 Lenten Services” group (named for Route 210, otherwise known as Indian Head Highway) hosts congregations and guest speakers, said the Rev. George E. Hackey Jr., pastor of Metropolitan.

Lent is “40 days of repentance and introspection,” Hackey said. “We need to make sure our lives represent Christ.”

But before Lent starts at midnight, Shrove Tuesday is a celebration, a time for fellowship and fun.

“This is your day to splurge, to go crazy,” Hill said. A time to “eat, talk and laugh.”

staylor@somdnews.com

Note: The auxiliary of Waldorf Volunteer Fire Department and EMS had to cencel its Shrove Tuesday pancake supper March 4 because of weather conditions.

Flippin’ sweet

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Piney Parish will hold a Shrove Tuesday pancake supper 5:30-7 p.m. March 4 at the church, 4535 Piney Church Road, Waldorf. Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, $5 for children 6-18 and children 5 and younger admitted free. Call 301-645-5000 or go to www.stpaulspiney.org.

Shiloh United Methodist Church will hold a Shrove Tuesday pancake supper 4-7 p.m. March 4 at the church, 7305 Indian Head Highway, Bryans Road. Tickets are $12 for adults, $9 for seniors, $6 for children 6-12 with children 5 and younger admitted free. Call 301-375-8816.

All Saints Episcopal Parish will hold a Shrove Tuesday pancake supper 5-7 p.m. March 4 at the church, 100 Lower Marlboro Road, Sunderland. Tickets are $8 for adults $4 children 6-12, and children younger than 6 will be admitted free.

Christ Church, Accokeek will hold a Shrove Tuesday all-you-can-eat pancake supper 5-7 p.m. March 4 at the church, 600 Farmington Road W., Accokeek. Tickets are $9 for adults, $5 for children 6-12 and children 5 and younger admitted free. Call 301-292-5633.

Trinity Church will hold a Shrove Tuesday pancake dinner 5-7 p.m. March 4 at Trinity Church Hall, 9611 Trinity Church Road, Charlotte Hall. Call 301-932-0159.

United Methodist Women of Metropolitan United Methodist Church will hold a Shrove Tuesday pancake supper 3-7 p.m. March 4 at the church, 3385 Metropolitan Church Road, Indian Head. Call 301-375-9088.