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Melissa Lowery/Special to The GazetteVolunteers serve guests Saturday at the Red Stocking Breakfast at Pizza Ranch.

The 8th Annual Red Stocking Breakfast to benefit the Kansas Children's Service League is set for 7:30 - 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Pizza Ranch, 3000 W. 18th Ave.

KCSL Program Director Bev Long said Pizza Ranch owners Rich and Linda Avery always do a "wonderful" job with the breakfast, which offers an array of breakfast pizzas, eggs, sausage, bacon and more. 

"We thank Rich and Linda so much for their generosity and just step in and do what they need to do to make this a wonderful meal," Long said. "We'll have all sorts of standard breakfast items that will just be yummy like they've always been." 

The Red Stocking Breakfast raises money for direct services in KCSL's Healthy Families program. The free program helps to give parents of children up to age 3 - 5 the tools and support needed to be confident and effective parents. 

"It's a home-based program and what we do is we teach them about child development, parent-child interaction, healthy lifestyles including safety and nutrition and we work with them so that they feel like they are well-equipped parents raising healthy children in a healthy environment," Long said. "We focus on lots of things, like well-child checks, immunizations, good nutritious meals for children, safe sleep habits, fun activities, gross and fine motor skills, but we also work with these families to totally fall in love with their children and understand what their children's needs are and put their children first and every aspect of their life." 

KCSL also helps the parents access education and other resources to help them reach goals. 

"We help them reach their goals," Long said. "It's all about success and support. I was very fortunate that I had great support when I was a young parent, and this program provides that for maybe young parents who don't have that support and need that. We're there to teach, to encourage, to support, and problem solve." 

This year there are 25 silent auction items up for grabs, with some fun food-related experiences among the selection. 

"This year, one of our new items is 'Eat Emporia First,' so we reached out to many of our locally-owned restaurants and we have three different items that support our locally-owned eating establishments," Long said. 

Some of the restaurants included are Do-B's, Commercial Street Diner, Casa Ramos, Bruff's, El Lorito, Coach's and more. 

There are also other great items donated from other local businesses such as Hopkins, Mark II Lumber and Kari's Diamonds. 

"We feel really blessed that our community really steps up and supports us and really understand what we do and why we do it," Long said. "It's so, so important to give parents the tools that they need to have a healthy environment and relationship for their children." 

The  event always features a number of recognizable faces from the community volunteering as celebrity servers. This year's honorary chairs — Lyon County Sheriff Jeff Cope and wife Karen — are no strangers to the Red Stocking Breakfast, having volunteered as servers for many years. 

Long said the Copes both have a long history of advocacy within the community, Jeff Cope as the Lyon County Sheriff, and Karen Cope as a court services officer for the Fifth Judicial District Court of Kansas. 

"I just love Jeff and Karen," she said. "They are just active in the community and they are advocates in their own right. Jeff has been one of the most visible sheriffs that we've ever had in this community, in that he just really steps out and is really involved in our community and wants to know what's going on and how to help make this a healthy community.

"Karen has always been an advocate for healthy living and a health community in her role at the Community Corrections office here in Lyon County. When she sees that a family that she's working with could use our services, she calls us."

Long said the Copes are longtime volunteers with the breakfast, always showing up with big smiles and helping to raise money during the event by bidding on silent auction items. 

"It was awesome when we asked them and they said they would love to be our honorary chairs this year," she said. "We have been able to find honorary chairs that really are passionate about what we are passionate about, who really do have the community's best interest at heart."

Tickets are available online online for $12 through 8 p.m. Thursday by visiting or calling 340-0408. Tickets can also be purchased at the door Saturday for $15. 

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