The Original Pancake House (OPH) in Eden Prairie is adding a special ingredient to its menu this holiday season: the spirit of giving.
For the fifth year, the restaurant has been participating as a satellite pop-up location for the Catholic Charities Twin Cities Giving Tree program, transforming it into a hub of generosity and community support.
In fact, the restaurant is the second largest Giving Tree partner for Catholic Charities in the Twin Cities, trailing only behind the Mall of America in Bloomington.
Last year, the restaurant handed out 1,100 ornaments, each representing a specific gift request for Catholic Charities Twin Cities clients.
“We are grateful for (the) OPH team — and their customers and the broader Eden Prairie community — for generously supporting their neighbors in need,” said Gretchen Olmscheid, procurement specialist at the Catholic Charities Twin Cities Distribution Center. “We are also excited that the Eden Prairie OPH location has brought the Giving Tree to other OPHs across the Twin Cities, creating a network of generosity with far-reaching impact.”
Jake Smalkoski, the restaurant’s manager, said the Giving Tree tradition has become a cherished part of the holiday season, with customers eagerly awaiting its setup the week of Thanksgiving. Some arrive early to choose their preferred ornament gift options.
“People look forward to it,” said Smalkoski, noting the tree usually stays up through the holiday season. “People are calling, asking, ‘When are you going to put up the Giving Tree?'”
The process of donating is simple yet impactful: customers select an ornament from the Giving Tree at OPH, purchase the requested item, and return it to the restaurant for collection.
“It’s just an awesome thing for the community to have a spot where they can bring stuff,” Smalkoski said. “Obviously, we’re a very fortunate community. It’s a nice thing to do.”
There is still time for those still looking to contribute: new and unwrapped gifts can be dropped off at participating locations such as the Original Pancake House, 549 Prairie Center Drive. A variety of items are on the Catholic Charities 2023 wish list.
We offer several ways for our readers to provide feedback. Your comments are welcome on our social media posts (Facebook, X, Instagram, Threads, and LinkedIn). We also encourage Letters to the Editor; submission guidelines can be found on our Contact Us page. If you believe this story has an error or you would like to get in touch with the author, please connect with us.