Molls back in Buckhannon and ready to serve up First UMC’s popular strawberry pancakes

BUCKHANNON – Buckhannon residents and visitors can have a ‘berry’ delicious breakfast or brunch on Friday and Saturday that fits the theme of the Strawberry Festival – “Strawberry Roads, Take Me Home.”

Retired pastor Rev. Barry Moll and wife Pam – who first met at West Virginia Wesleyan College and recently moved back to Buckhannon – are the coordinators of this year’s Strawberry Pancake fundraiser. Barry Moll said he hopes folks will come out and enjoy a great meal while helping support the Upshur Parish House youth and mission projects as well as the Upshur Christmas Store.

This year’s menu includes pancakes, fresh strawberries, sausage, maple syrup and strawberry syrup.

Gluten-free pancakes and takeout meals are available. The Strawberry Pancake fundraiser will be Friday, May 17, and Saturday May 18, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church, located at 52 S. Florida St. in Buckhannon. The cost is $7 for adults and $4 for kids.

Moll said the breakfast itself is a wonderfully delicious meal.

“The Strawberry Pancake fundraiser supports the ministries of the Upshur Parish House,” he said. “It is one of the most significant helping organizations in the entire county – specifically, half of this breakfast’s profits go to support the Upshur Christmas Store, a huge endeavor each year for children that otherwise would not have much of a Christmas.”

The other half of the profits will be used to support other important projects in Upshur County.

“The rest will be used for things like youth scholarships to camps,” Moll said. “We are supporting local churches who are going to McDowell County to help, and we help support youth activities across Upshur County for the summer.”

In years past, the Strawberry Pancake breakfast has been well-attended, and Moll said he heard the meal is “quite delicious.”

“This is our first go-around, and we are dependent on the many cooks to make sure this year’s event is as tasty as it always has been,” Moll said.

Although the Molls have only lived in Buckhannon since last summer, Barry Moll said that Buckhannon has been central in their lives, and he can’t image a better place to call home since retiring.

“Pam and I met at West Virginia Wesleyan College in the 1970s,” he said. “We have come back to Buckhannon every year for Annual Conference and for other meeting across the years. Buckhannon is a very familiar area to us, and it has become one of our favorite places on the face of the earth.”

He said another plus of living in Buckhannon is its proximity to Elkins – a place they couple lived for many years.

“We have lots of friends and people we love in Elkins, too,” Moll said. “So, Buckhannon couldn’t be a better place for us. We live out on Tallmansville Road, so we are in the country, but less than five minutes from Kroger.”

Moll said Buckhannon is a center for he and Pam.

“It’s the place where we began together and through the West Virginia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, it has always been the yearly gathering place of all our colleagues and friends,” he said. “I was involved for more than 20 years in Summer Youth Celebration, the annual youth gathering for United Methodist Youth and others from across the state. I was on the WVWC Alumni Council for a number of years.”

So, moving to Buckhannon made good sense to the couple.

“We have children in Webster Springs, Morgantown and the Charleston area – Buckhannon kind of fits smack dab in the middle of that, too. It gives us a place to be able to get to our children and grandchildren very easily. We have 11 grandchildren.”

“One of the neat things about doing something like this Strawberry Pancake Breakfast is there are 70 to 80 volunteers helping put on the event,” he added. “We have worked with all kinds of people in different ways and probably this is the first time we have met two-thirds of these folks. When you get involved in helping your community, first of all, you are doing something good.

“But second, it makes you part of the community, and we are hoping to live in Buckhannon for the rest of our lives, so it is exciting to get to know our neighbors.”

Kristi Wilkerson, director of Christian education and programming at First UMC, said she’s happy Barry and Pam Moll are heading up the fundraiser.

“I know many folks here were delighted when they announced they would be moving here last year,” Wilkerson said. “They are both energetic, enthusiastic individuals who quickly and easily become an integral part of their community, giving back in so many ways.”

Wilkerson said when the Molls selected Buckhannon as their choice of an area to retire, Barry immediately said he would be volunteering at the Upshur Parish House.

“He jumped right in as a member of the Parish Council and as a volunteer in several other ways,” Wilkerson said. “When asked if they would coordinate the Strawberry Pancake fundraiser during festival time, they agreed without hesitation, and we know everything will be top-notch with Barry and Pam leading the way.

“We invite everyone to come and enjoy pancakes and strawberries on Friday or Saturday, or both,” Wilkerson said. “Strawberry pancakes have become a tradition during the Strawberry Festival each year, and we really look forward to visiting with all those who come out for pancakes, sausage and strawberries – those who join us every year and new folks alike.”