Ten years ago, a small group of male members of St. Paul’s United Church met to discuss forming a group to do something positive for the church, themselves and the community.
Out of this meeting arose the St. Paul’s Men’s Breakfast Club. The breakfast is prepared and served by the men of the church every Saturday morning, rain or shine, in the dining hall for anyone who wants to attend, whether a member of St. Paul’s or not.
Proceeds raised from the breakfast are returned to the church for St. Paul’s outreach projects.
The first breakfast was served in late November, 2003, and initially there were few customers. However, word of the breakfast spread to members of the congregation, then to their friends and eventually into the community.
Breakfast menu choices are omelettes, bacon, sausages, toast, pancakes juice, tea or coffee. A full breakfast costs about $7. There are usually about 55 to 65 people who enjoy breakfast at St. Paul’s. Many come every week to meet with friends over a meal and coffee.
Last month the men served their 31,000th breakfast. Approximately 10 per cent of the meals have been given to individuals who have been unable to pay.
In 2012 the Minister of Agriculture (Ontario) awarded the Club with the Good Egg Award to recognize the members’ contribution to the community and the spirit of volunteerism represented by the club.
On Saturday mornings, the first food preparers arrive at the church at 6:30 a.m. Others come in later so everything is ready for the first customers at 8 a.m. Breakfast is served continually until 10 a.m. Most Saturdays there are up to 15 volunteers engaged in the preparation and serving of the food and the cleanup afterwards.
The breakfast has been a great success. First, it has provided a place for people to gather with friends, or to make new friends, while enjoying a good breakfast at a reasonable price. Secondly, it has given the men of St. Paul’s a place to meet and get to know one other while providing a service to the church and the community.
The breakfast has raised nearly $100,000 over the past 10 years, and the money raised by the community has been given back to the community.