INDIANAPOLIS — When Andy Harris helped take over organization of the westside"s annual Breakfast With Santa a couple of years ago, the Wayne Township trustee knew what he was getting into.
"I didn"t hesitate doing so, but it"s a huge undertaking," he said. "But it"s amazing to see how gratified these kids and their parents are."
With this year"s event, organizers are planning on hosting 3,500 children and their parents. That"s up from a few hundred when Breakfast With Santa started 14 years ago.
It was established by Vicki Walker of the Indiana division of Steak 'n Shake and Marshall Lewis as a way to give back to the community. Steak 'n Shake recruited the Wayne Township Fire Department and local businesses, including Engaging Solutions and Long"s Bakery, to help.
Harris first got involved when he worked in the mayor"s office. After being elected Wayne Township trustee last year, he said Lewis asked him to take over as chair of Breakfast With Santa. Lewis has stepped down from his duties and Walker is battling cancer.
"We"re carrying on their legacy," Harris said.
This year"s Breakfast With Santa is from 8:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 15 at the Chapel Hill 7th & 8th Grade Center, 7320 W. 10th St. Steak 'n Shake will serve a free all-you-can-eat breakfast, after which children can visit with Santa and select some free toys to take home, courtesy of Toys for Tots.
Sign-up sheets for the event have been placed in all local Steak 'n Shake locations as well as other restaurants and community centers. The Wayne Township Trustee"s office has also issued e-mails and press releases.