Breakfast on Boulevard
‘‘We’re hungry, all of us, in many different ways,” says Mickey Stufflebean, program moderator of Breakfast on Boulevard, which provides free meals to any and all who show up to receive them. “We’re all in this together.”
Many of the faces you’ll see are repeat visitors—not just coming for food or to volunteer to serve, but also for the social interaction and the sense of community they find. Sometimes it’s the hunger for connection that keeps people coming back.
On May 7, 1990, Carole Roberts and Patty McKibbon began Breakfast on Boulevard, based on a similar program in Ponca City. A community program, the program is hosted at the First Christian Church of Edmond, financed by donations and run by volunteers from 6-7 different churches. The mission of the program is simple: to feed all who are hungry. As Stufflebean says, it’s not just about the food.
In the first year of the program, about 3,000 meals were served. On the first day, just one young man showed up for a meal, a student from the nearby college. “They were so excited to see him, they think they must have scared him off,” chuckles Stufflebean. “They never saw him again.” Word spread and the numbers increased. Stufflebean estimates that about 23,000 meals were served last year—and the program continues to grow.
Nobody likes to ask for help, but Breakfast on Boulevard was designed with an understanding that “we’re all just a breath away from losing what we have,” according to Stufflebean. “It could be one choice that makes the difference.” Offering people help provides a positive ripple; “when we get help, we look for ways to help others.”
Volunteers arrive early at 5:30am to start preparing food. Though breakfast doesn’t officially start until 6:30, there are often people who come earlier. “We don’t turn anyone away,” says Stufflebean. “We’re just here to serve, not to judge.”
Those who come are allowed up to six meals, no questions asked. Some come by to pick up food for their family or neighbors. “If they ask for six, they get six.” Breakfast is hot and features a different specialty every day: pancakes and sausage on Monday, eggs and ham on Tuesday, French toast and sausage on Wednesday, biscuits and gravy on Thursday, and eggs with ham and vegetables on Friday. “Thursday’s my favorite,” laughs Stufflebean. “Can’t go wrong with biscuits and gravy.”
Sack lunches are also provided with breakfast. Packed with two sandwiches, cookies and an apple, the lunches offer another way to give support. “Two sandwiches because that way it can be stretched to dinner,” says Stufflebean. Lunch also includes a Bible verse. “We’re not here to preach, we just include a verse to offer some comfort. We’re all in this ship together, and it’s crowded—we need to be there for one another.”
By 7:30am, breakfast is over, the kitchen is clean and the volunteers begin preparing for another day. Food and supplies are purchased by volunteers with donated funds. Approximately six volunteers help each day, half in the kitchen on breakfast and the other half on sack lunches. Stufflebean estimates that 100 or more volunteers pitch in every month to keep the program running.
How to Help
Many volunteers who help at Breakfast on Boulevard are from other churches. Some are students and often, juvenile offenders fulfilling a community service sentence. But what unites all the volunteers is a respect for others, an understanding that this work is important and a desire to help.
The program is most in need of donations of time and money. Financial gifts allow the program to purchase food and supplies; volunteers make the program happen. Any donation is appreciated. “We also accept cookies,” says Stufflebean. “We have people who bake cookies and bring them for the sack lunches.” A home-baked cookie can brighten anyone’s day.
Contact program moderator Mickey Stufflebean at 341-4742 or Judy Griffis at 348-1443 if you are interested in helping.