"We've gotten bigger. We're more formalized in our organization," says John Riedel, the treasurer, who volunteers on Thursday mornings. The organization, he says, grew from one that "was running out of Svea's apron pockets" to one with a strategic plan and a half-time paid director. In her twenty hours a week, Chase will oversee daily breakfasts for 100 to 150 people, making sure food is ordered and equipment running, and perhaps eventually expand into grant writing or other tasks.
The program's budget has grown from about $80,000 in 2007 to $141,000 this year, Riedel says. About half comes from individual donors, with some local organizations kicking in for the oatmeal, grits, and more each day.
Gray, who also chaired the board, retired in September. "Svea kept the program together in hard times," Reidel says. He expects that the board will choose a new chair at its quarterly meeting in January.
As a deacon, Gray also had a small discretionary fund she could use to help people in need. She might buy a bus ticket for someone going to visit a sick mother, or pay for part of the tools a carpenter needed for a job. Volunteers say that it's one of the big holes left when she retired. (Gray was traveling in October and not available to be interviewed.)