LAYTON -- Giving back to the community never tasted better as the Davis Conference Center in Layton recently dished up its annual Breakfast With Santa event for the community.
Started six years ago as an activity to help families kick off the holiday season, the event has turned into an additional opportunity for the city to raise food and money for the Bountiful Community Food Pantry.
"It was just one of those events where we were trying to give back to the community and never intended for it to be a fundraiser," said Dave Hilliard, food and beverage director for the Davis Conference Center. "As it got bigger, we've seen that we can really make a difference."
Last year, when the staff that organized the event realized the impact it could have on the community, they began trying to find a charity where fundraising dollars could help the most.
Hilliard said they discovered that the Bountiful Community Food Panty is one of the most underserved food pantries in Davis County.
As a result of the event, more than 400 pounds of donated food and toiletries, filling six barrels to the brim, as well as $250 from the community, will be given to the pantry to assist with its needs.
"When we heard about it, I was extremely excited because we, like anybody else, can use all the help we can get," said Tony Bencina, director of operations for the Bountiful Community Food Pantry.
The Kucks, of Layton, have been coming to Breakfast With Santa for the past three years with their daughter, who is now 7, and they were excited about the opportunity to combine giving back to the community with their annual family activity.
Before stepping into the elaborately decorated breakfast event, the Kucks added a box of canned goods to the collection barrels.
"It's a great service, and we appreciate that they collect canned food, because we like to give back to the community," said Belinda Kuck. "We feel very blessed, so we like to give back where we can."
The event is not intended to be a moneymaker for Davis Conference Center, said Hilliard, so the conference center charges a relatively nominal fee upon entrance to cover the cost of the food and other activities.
The event includes fancy dining with a buffet decked out with gourmet breakfast foods, a visit with Santa and a stuffed-animal gift, a candy table, and stations for face-painting, letters to Santa and cookie decorating. The staff spends countless hours preparing for the event, especially because they know they have created a tradition for many families.
Such was the case for the Clawson family, of Layton, who have been coming with their three children, ages 4, 7, and 8, for the past several years.
"It's just a fun way to kick off the holidays and for our family to have fun but still give service and teach our kids what's really important," said Janice Clawson.