|© Mark Bialek|
by Vickie Elmer
The Breakfast at St. Andrew's has a new leader.
When she volunteered at the breakfast at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, Shannon Chase usually served up pastries and muffins on Wednesdays before dashing off to classes in ancient civilizations and biblical studies at the University of Michigan.
Now she's the one recruiting college students and others to volunteer at the free daily breakfast program, having taken over as director in early September.
Chase is stepping into some huge shoes: for twenty-five years the breakfast was run by diminutive St. Andrew's deacon Svea Gray, a volunteer who was well known for her strict-looking smile and her openness.
"The guests miss her. They ask about her," says Chase.
Originally a program of the church, the breakfast became an independent nonprofit organization five years ago, mainly so it could accept donations from businesses and groups that will not give to religious institutions.
"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
Local profiles, stories from readers, and more.>> Blogs