The breakfast program was established thirty years ago by St. Andrew's church and society committee, in response to the state's last great recession. After putting up handbills around town, it initially served about thirty-five people on weekends. Within six weeks, it had begun serving every day.
Chase, who grew up in Kalamazoo and attends First Baptist Church in Ann Arbor, says she was "looking for something meaningful to do" after finishing her degree. Moving into a role so closely associated with another person has been a bit difficult, Chase admits, adding that her more than two years of volunteering also helped her understand the organization's rhythms and routines. (She's currently seeking volunteers who can help on Thursdays and some weekends.)
Though there have been calls in the past for the Breakfast to add more services, "we can't be all things to all people," says Chase. She and Riedel agree the program will stick to its mission: serving breakfast to anyone who wants it every day of the year. "Everybody's entitled to breakfast," Riedel says. "Come have oatmeal, even if you're making $100,000."
[Originally published in November, 2012.]