The Breakfast Cafe takes place each and every Saturday morning. It is located in the building of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church at the intersection of Pearl and Division in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids. It began in 2006 as an outreach of the church and has now grown beyond that as it feeds between 175 and 200 each weekend. Teams of volunteers from St. Mark’s and the community cook and serve the breakfasts. People who are in transition and often homeless walk long distances to attend.
REFLECTIONS FROM THOSE WHO ATTEND THE CAFE: The Breakfast Cafe has been woven into the downtown system of shelters. Jan: “I was told about this breakfast by my shelter. Other food programs require a fee or use of my food stamps. Many of my friends come here from a far distance. This is the best breakfast and the only one on Sunday. For me, this is not only nutritious, but a social experience.”
The downtown community relies on the Cafe’s support. Joe and Tracy Joe have been attending since 2012 and Tracy for one year. “We walk up from Dégagé and want you to know that many who stay at shelters are handicapped. There are some who can’t walk up the hill to come.” Aaron: “I have been coming for breakfast since 2007, on and off as needed. Due to my lifelong addictions, I find it hard to stay employed long term and I fall in and out of homelessness. This has been a blessing for me.”
The food is nutritious and the atmosphere feeds the soul. Judith Fay: “The fact that this Cafe gets me out of bed early one day a week is a miracle. I walk here every Sunday in the rain, snow and sunshine. This is my day to see the city as beautiful and asleep as I walk the six blocks to breakfast. I meet new friends here and the coffee is endless. Sometimes I walk into church for the sermon to get inspired.”
The Breakfast Cafe offers belonging to a community and provides an opportunity to contribute. Mark: “I like to help clean up afterwards as there is a great spirit of people helping each other. I sleep on the steps of another church and come here on Sunday for a good dose of protein. I love the variety of food each week. We’re not just talking pancakes!“
For more information on the Sunday Breakfast Cafe, please contact: Rev. Dr. Christian F. Brocato, Rector.