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St. Mary’s Breakfast Fills Belly & Soul

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(Memphis) You don't have to wait until Sunday to experience joyful singing and prayer.

Each Wednesday morning, St. Mary's Episcopal on Poplar opens its doors to the community.

The community surrounding the church is made up of mostly homeless people and the working poor.

Each Wednesday, they're welcomed with handshakes and smile.

It's a time pf reflection and rejuvenation.

Volunteers help with preparing breakfast, but most of the people serving and cleaning up are homeless and appreciate the idea of helping out rather than receiving a handout.

Loneie Jeans started coming to St. Mary's Prayer Breakfast two years ago.

He says the prayer service changed his life, "I understand it's a different way, another way to life."

Many of the people are struggling to survive day to day.

They look forward to this fellowship each week.

They laugh and talk and, for a few moments, they're not thinking about their problems.

"People just want to be reminded that they are loved, they're cared for and to get a little food in their belly," said Pastor Laura Gettys.

St. Mary's started the breakfast four years ago with just a few people.

Now, more than 100 people show up weekly.

They eat a hearty meal of breakfast classics and are offered sandwiches to take with them for later.

They also have an opportunity to do odd jobs to earn cash.

"We have a community garden and folks feel empowered because they work around the campus doing some good work and they walk away with a some money too," said Gettys.

The outreach is making a difference in the lives of many.

For St. Mary's, the service isn't about charity, it's about giving people a chance.

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