Serving pancakes with a purpose

PELHAM – From greeting guests, to making pancakes and serving food, Miss Alabama 2016 Hayley Barber did it all at IHOP on Tuesday, March 7, for National Pancake Day.

National Pancake Day is a nationwide IHOP event that benefits Children’s Hospital Association, Shriners Hospitals for Children and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Every year, IHOP invites the public to enjoy a free short stack of pancakes, and in exchange guests are asked to make a donation to benefit charity.

From 7:30-9:30 a.m. Barber volunteered at the event and made sure to sit, talk and take pictures with guests.

Cayleigh Cummings, coordinator for the Children’s Miracle Network Foundation, said the event has raised more than $24 million for patient care, research and advocacy since it began in 2006.

Although National Pancake Day is held at IHOPs nationwide, funds raised in Alabama only help local charities, like Children’s of Alabama.

Barber, a Pelham native, said she has participated in the event for six years, with each title she’s held. As a part of the Miss America organization, Barber said contestants are required to fundraise for Children’s Hospital, but it’s a part of her duties as Miss Alabama that she enjoys the most.

For 2016, Barber was the top fundraiser in the nation, raising $43,000. Most years, Barber said Alabama is among the top three fundraising states in the Miss America organization.

“It’s one of my favorite parts of being Miss Alabama,” she said. “What sets us apart from other pageants is that we serve our communities.”