Swan Lake, MT – The heavy rains in early summer may have alleviated the risk of a hard forest fire season, but for families that lose their homes to fire there is no season, for domestic fire can hit at any time and place.
Spurred on by the disastrous Bitteroot fires of 2000, Laughing Horse Lodge joined forces with the American Red Cross to raise monies to assist families who had lost their homes to that devasting blaze. Donating the kitchen and dining room to volunteers and neighbors, owners Kathleen and Richard allowed their home and business to become a catalyst for aid.
Eleven years later, the Horse is going strong, and the sense of community responsibility still stronger, as volunteers descend on Swan Lake to assist in the annual Labor Day Huckleberry Pancake Breakfast.“We’ve been told that this is the longest running ‘fund raiser’ of its kind in the valley,” says Kathleen, “but it’s not about the length of time, its about the people who come out to eat pancakes and drop a check in the jar to help someone they will never meet.”
Over $50,000 has been raised over the years, all the funds staying in the NW Montana area to aid families. “The magic number is $6000,” states Kathleen, “that’s what we aim for each year during the three day event.” Representatives from the local ARC explain that it takes about $3000 to help a family get relocated and purchase needed clothing and items to set up a temporary home. Overall, eleven families have received necessary assistance from the kindness of strangers enjoying breakfast with friends at the Horse.
The 12th Huckleberry Pancake Breakfast for Montana Fire Victims will take place at Laughing Horse Lodge, Milemarker 71.5, Hwy 83, Swan Lake on September 3,4 and 5, 8am to 12 noon. A minimum donation of $6 will receive delicious fresh huckleberry pancakes, sausage, juice and coffee served by your neighbors and friends. Experienced pancake grillers are welcome in the kitchen for two hour shifts!
Can’t make it? Send your check made out to American Red Cross – Montana to Laughing Horse Lodge Pancake Breakfast, PO Box 5082, Swan Lake, MT 59911. For more information, call 406-886-2080 or visit www.laughinghorselodge.com