Janelle has a full time job. But as a single mother with three kids, both money and time with her children are tight.
So for the past three months, Janelle has brought the family to Lutheran Church of the Resurrection at 91st Street and Mission Road every Saturday morning for breakfast. The free meal doesn’t just put food in their stomachs. It also provides a chance for the family to sit down together and visit with each other and friends — an opportunity they don’t get during the week.
“The kids are getting bigger and starting to eat more, so a free meal helps stretch the food budget,” she said. “We love it. We love coming here. We finally get a chance to be together.”
Such stories are precisely the kind of thing pastor Alix Pridgen had hoped for when the church started its Saturday’s Miracle Breakfast Ministry in March. The program was born of a desire to foster a sense of community at the church while helping those hit hard by the down economy. After struggling to attract as many patrons as they’d hoped during the program’s first few months, the church is now serving breakfast to around 50 people a week.
“We get such a diversity of people coming through,” Pridgen said. “Some come for a couple weeks. Others have become regulars.”
The current traffic is a good start, Pridgen says, but the church hopes to be serving six times as many people a year from now. And they’re picking up some significant support to help them reach their goal.
The church recently received a $5,000 grant from THRIVENT to support the program along with an additional $10,000 challenge grant; THRIVENT will match every dollar up to $10,000 the group receives before Jan. 31.
They’re also getting a broader and broader volunteer base. Members of Methodist and Presbyterian churches in the area have helped serve, as have members of other area Lutheran churches. The effect, Pridgen said, has been the creation of a network of new friends — volunteers and diners alike.
“A whole community is growing where former strangers are now greeting one another by name,” Pridgen said.