Since the 1920s, the Red Stocking Breakfast — Red Stocking Campaign, as it was known then — has been hosted by the Kansas Children’s Service League to fill stockings for children in need.
Twenty-five years ago, the breakfasts began a partnership with Carlos O’ Kelly’s, 3425 S. Kansas Ave. The Mexican restaurant offers up its restaurant, the food and wait staff to assist in the popular event.
“The breakfast is probably one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had, and hands down, I’m not kidding,” gushed Gail Cozadd, the regional program director at KCSL. “They have a ham suiza, which is kind of a spin off of their suiza enchilada. It’s so good. And then they have the traditional scrambled eggs and potatoes, stuff like that.”
In advance, the breakfast is all you can eat for $15, and $18 the day of the event, from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 9.
“The greatest thing is that it’s a way of supporting and learning more about what the Kansas Children’s Service League actually does. I think the biggest thing is how far reaching the programs for the children’s service league are,” said Vince Avila, the community leadership and development council chairman of KCSL. “Starting before a child is born through their adoption program.”
Avila listed programs available for children affected by abuse, in the foster care system, children expelled from school, those who need to continue their education and juvenile delinquents.
“There’s a program for any kind of thing you might think of where a child would need support, and they’re so effective in that, I think that’s what I love about the Red Stocking Breakfast, trying to make people aware of all of those things,” Avila said.
This event is completely free to KCSL, something Cozadd said is almost unprecedented when it comes to benefit fundraising. Local “celebrities,” such as news anchors, police and firemen, newspaper publishers and other prominent local figures volunteer to clear tables and serve diners, and Santa and a local magician also visit during breakfast to entertain the children.
Each year, an honoree is chosen for the breakfast, this year’s being Attorney General Derek Schmidt and his wife, Jennifer.
“I am beyond happy — and honored — by this opportunity to celebrate and rally around KCSL,” Jennifer Schmidt said. “The work they do makes a difference. It is work that truly matters.”
Prior to her husband’s appointment, Jennifer Schmidt was a member of the board at KCSL, and has continued to support the organization since her husband became attorney general.
“The Red Stocking Breakfast is about supporting the selfless caregivers, social workers and administrators that are KCSL,” she said. “It is about supporting the Kansans helped by KCSL — the foster kids who fight for their futures, the parents who fight to rebuild their families and so many more.”
It was this passion for their cause that Margaret La Rue, KCSL board president, said inspired them to choose the Schmidts this year.
“(When choosing an honoree, we look for) someone connected with our organization,” La Rue said. “And the Schmidts have been very supportive of the work we do — not just personally within their family — but from their work and knowing the benefits that we offer in our community.”
To purchase advanced tickets for this year’s event, visit bit.do/RSBtix or call (785) 274-3100.
Contact reporter Savanna Maue at (785) 295-5621 or @CJFoodFun or @SavannaMaue on Twitter.