Get Behind the Vest breakfast

State Rep. Fran Hurley joins volunteers in serving guests at last year’s Get Behind the Vest Pancake Breakfast, hosted by 19th Ward Ald. Matt O’Shea. This year’s fundraiser will be held March 21, and organizers said breakfasts will be available for pick up or delivery. Proceeds support the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation campaign to purchase new protective vests for Chicago Police Department officers. (Review file photo)

The Get Behind the Vest Pancake Breakfast, an annual event hosted by 19th Ward Ald. Matt O’Shea in support of the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation (CPMF), will still take place this year—but in a different way.

As O’Shea announced his quarterly publication, the breakfast will be held March 21.

Meals will be available for pickup or delivery.

Funds will still go toward the CPMF’s campaign to purchase new protective vests for Chicago Police Department officers. The parish of St. John Fisher Roman Catholic Church is again serving as co-host.

“People in our community want to do what they can to support the police,” O’Shea told The Beverly Review recently. “This is such a good [opportunity] for them to a part of. It’s such a popular event. It’s an event that speaks of who we are, rallying around each other, supporting first responders. We certainly won’t be able to execute what we have in the past, but we want to do some sort of version of that to try to raise funds to support the mission.”

The breakfast, first held in 2015, regularly draws thousands of supporters. It has been held at St. John Fisher Elementary School since 2016. Once again, The Original Pancake House-Beverly, owned by the Harrigan Family, is serving as a co-host and will provide all the ingredients and supplies.

The CPMF launched Get Behind the Vest in late 2014. O’Shea is a CPMF advisory board member. He said that the past seven years, the campaign has replaced over 11,000 vests and now aims to replace 500 years per year.

Vests need to be replaced every five years. Officers receive their first vests for free but must pay out of pocket for replacements.

O’Shea will again work with local schools to host fundraisers supporting the campaign, and he is teaming up with Kean Gas Station, 2632 W. 111th St., to raise funds.

From March 14-20, for every gallon of gas sold at the station, 15 cents will be donated to Get Behind the Vest.

Pancake breakfast orders can be made at the19thward.com or by visiting the 19th Ward Office at 10400 S. Western Ave.

Merchandise supporting the cause is also being sold.

O’Shea said in his publication he hopes the breakfast is a success yet again.

“Now more than ever, we need to do all that we can to protect those who protect us,” O’Shea said. “My community is home to thousands of Chicago police officers, who understand how important life-saving equipment is on the job. It is my hope that even though this event will look different this year, we can continue to help replace bulletproof vests for our officers and help ensure their safety on the streets.”