The Christian season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday and ends 40 days later (Sundays not included) with Easter. In the Middle Ages, celebrants fasted during Lent and thus indulged in richer foodstuff – for example, milk, eggs, sugar, and butter – the day before Lent began. Since pancakes use all of those ingredients, they offer an ideal way to clean the cupboards on Fat Tuesday, also known as Shrove Tuesday. The Shrove Tuesday pancake supper continues as a tradition in many churches.

St. James United Methodist Church would like to welcome the community to its annual Shrove Tuesday pancake supper, scheduled for Feb. 21, 5-7 p.m. (Snow date is Feb. 28). The menu will feature pancakes, sausages, baked apples, and beverages. The church does not charge for the meal, but will invite guests to make a freewill offering. All proceeds will support the youth group's annual Camp Hope mission project.

The address is 12470 Old Frederick Road (Route 99) in Marriottsville, and the phone number is 410-442-2020.

Mt. Zion United Methodist Church, at 12430 Scaggsville Road (Route 216) in Highland, will also host a Shrove Tuesday pancake supper Feb. 21 from 5 to 7 p.m. The dinner will include pancakes, sausages, fruit toppings and beverages. The church suggests a donation of $5 for adults and $3 for children ages 3-8. Children younger than 3 can eat for free.

Following the dinner at 7 p.m., a new small group will meet to study "24 Hours that Changed the World." Contact Elizabeth Blough at EBlough@comcast.net or 301-604-6769 for more information.

St. Andrew's Episcopal Church will offer two meals next week: a Shrove Tuesday pancake supper Feb. 21 from 6 to 8 p.m. and then the monthly community feast Thursday, Feb. 23 from 6 to 8 p.m. The church will accept a freewill offering for the pancake supper.

The feast costs $9 per person or $30 maximum per family, and kids under five are free. This month's proceeds will support People Who Need People (www.pwnp-peoplewhoneedpeople.com), a network of western Howard County families that supports established charities for women and children.

This month's menu will feature a hearty stew and delicious side dishes whipped up by the experts at nearby Smokin' Hot Bar and Grille. Dine in or carry out; the church address is 2892 Route 97, in Glenwood. Call Lynne Quinn at 410-442-5445 for more details.

Unfortunately, some members of our community continue struggling to afford groceries and the food pantry at Glenelg United Methodist Church has seen a growing list of clients each month. If you or someone you know is in need of grocery assistance, the food pantry's monthly opening will take place Saturday, Feb. 18 from 9 to 10 a.m.

Guests must sign-in to receive Howard County food bank items, but non-county residents may also visit to shop from the church's inventory. Food is distributed according to family size.

The pantry happily accepts donations and currently seeks peanut butter and jelly, canned fruit, condiments and detergent.

For more information, call 410-489-7260, or email glenelgumcpantry@gmail.com. The address is 13900 Burntwoods Road, in Glenelg.

It's nearly time for spring cleaning, and the Marriotts Ridge High School Music Foundation would like to help out by accepting gently used donations for its annual Mustang Flea Market, scheduled for March 3 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event will take place in the school cafeteria at 12100 Woodford Drive, in Marriottsville. Proceeds, of course, will support the Marriotts Ridge music programs.

Do you have items to contribute? Drop them off Feb. 24 from 5 to 8 p.m. or Feb. 25 from 9 a.m. to noon at the storage unit near the tennis courts. (The courts areto the right of the school if you are facing the main entrance from Route 99.) The main collection date will be March 2 from 4 to 8 p.m. in the cafeteria. Please hold furniture and other large items until that time.

Questions? Email mustangfleamarket@gmail.com.

St. Patrick's Day is still a month away, but now is the time to mark your calendar for several events taking place March 17.

On the morning of the 17th, the St. Alphonsus Rodriguez Knights of Columbus will hold its second annual Mind, Body & Soul 5K fundraiser at the church, 10800 Old Court Road, in Woodstock. Packet pickup will begin at 7 a.m. and the race will start at 8 a.m.

To register, go to http://www.active.com/running/woodstock-md/2nd-annual-mind-body-and-soul-5k-2012 by March 14. Adult entry costs $20 by March 3 or $25 after that date. Kids 14 and younger cost $15, and families of three or four cost $50, but the discount applies only if registration is completed through the mail by March 8. All registrants will receive a T-shirt.

Male and female prizes will be awarded to the first three finishers overall, the first master (age 40+), and the winners of each age group (14 and under, 15-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70+). Additionally, every participant will receive treats at the post-race awards celebration and will be eligible to win door prizes.

For more information, email Phil Lang of Bullseye Running at coachlang@hotmail.com.

The Knights of Columbus will hold its annual St. Patrick's Celebration later that day from 7-10:30 p.m. in the church hall. Tickets cost $20 each and include a corned beef dinner with dessert, light snacks and beverages, five "lucky bucks" to play on any game of chance and the opportunity to win door prizes.

The evening will also feature a 50/50 raffle and live music by the Lenny Adams Trio. To purchase tickets, call Ed Pelsinsky at 410-313-8808 or Brian Lawton at 410-303-9206 or email brian.k.lawton@redtailcreek.com.

Player's Bar & Grill, in the Waverly Village Center, will also be hopping on St. Paddy's Day. The Marriotts Ridge High School Boosters will hold their big Mustang March Madness fundraiser there from 7-11 p.m., with plenty of food, basketball games, prizes, and camaraderie.

Tickets cost $45 by March 9 or $50 after that date. To order, go to http://www.mrhs-boosters.com/madness. Email "Mad" lady Felicia Fleming at bfmjfleming@aol.com with any questions about the event.