Free breakfast initiative inspires bigger project

Published: Feb. 26, 2021 at 10:43 PM EST
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - Steve Porter, Teresa Porter, and Kristen Stone have been serving the community free breakfast for two years.

It takes place every Saturday. A sausage egg sandwich, fruit bar, and apple sauce were on the menu this week. The philosophy is you take what you need, no requirements or questions asked.

Just like Covid hasn’t put a stop to food insecurity, it hasn’t put a stop to these first congregational church breakfasts.

Mr. Porter said, “..., so we said we’ll have a drive-thru. People are still going to be hungry. Food insecurity doesn’t go away simply because of Covid. In fact, it probably increases.”

The people the breakfast serves has grown substantially since it first started. To be specific, it went from serving 30 to 40 people to averaging 130 people. However, the program hasn’t just grown in numbers.

Volunteer Kristen Stone said the friendships formed have been a blessing.

“They’ll say ‘how’s your car working, Kristen? You know, how are you doing? What have you done this week?’ And we know each other by name and there has been a trust level developed and you know we can share - they feel like they can share what’s really going on in their lives.”

With the insight organizers and volunteers gained, they started to realize something was missing.

Mr. Porter said, “This resource center next door for the drop in center came out of the breakfast because my wife and Kristen Stone said well where are these people - what are they doing the rest of the week? You know, because where do they go? What do they need?”

The drop in center not only offers wellness checks but offers connections to housing, mental health services, a shower to rinse off, and more.

Grants from the Marietta Community Foundation, the Marietta Welfare League, and the United Church of Christ make the breakfast possible, which made the drop in center possible.

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