JACKSON TWP.  Saturday morning is always a great time to have a big breakfast with the family. Last Saturday, more than 300 people came for a free breakfast of cheesy potatoes, sausage and pancakes at St. Stephen Martyr Lutheran Church on Fulton Road in Jackson Township.

Two special guests, Santa and Mrs. Claus, stopped by to hear all the kids’ wish list for Christmas. Breakfast with Santa is an annual event that’s been going on for more than 15 years at the church.

Families are asked to bring a new, unwrapped $15-$20 toy along to donate to Community Christmas. There were also many make-and-take crafts set up at tables for the kids to make religious related tree ornaments.

Pastor Bruce Roth said the church offers the free event for a number of reasons.

"It’s an outreach effort to the community and it’s held to help collect toys for Community Christmas to distribute to area children from families in need," Roth said. "It also serves as a way for us to open the church up to people in the community so that they can experience God’s love in a fun environment. We hope the families realize a deeper meaning in Christmas and a deeper meaning in Christ."

"All of the many volunteers helping today are from the church. We have a large decorating committee that decorates the church and many others that host the craft tables, serve and cleanup," added head elf Alexxis Rochford, whose husband Mike was the cook for the morning. "The event has grown every year since Pastor Roth’s wife Kelly started it. This year is the largest group we’ve had," Rochford said.