Columbia Church Combats Income Lag with Free Breakfast

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COLUMBIA - Calvary Episcopal Church volunteers were up early Saturday morning to feed people in need of a free breakfast at of their "Saturday breakfast cafe."

"I'm very grateful for this good meal," Columbia resident Mike Misslin said. "I am homeless and a lot of times, I don't get a decent meal."

New U.S. census data shows that Missouri is one of just two states where median incomes fell in 2012 from the previous year, as many residents continue to grapple with a slow-to-recover economy. The median household income in the state was $45,321 last year. That's a 1.6 percent decline from 2011. Nationally, the median income for U.S. households in 2012 was $51,017. That figure remained flat after two previous annual declines.  

Several downtown Columbia churches alternate hosting the 'saturday breakfast cafe' each month to help the growing population of low-income residents. 

Church volunteer Pierce Wade said serving the community helps in many ways, including security.

"If you've ever walked down like a dark alley around Columbia, I don't get as scared because honestly 9 times out of 10, I know people who are hanging out in that alley," Wade said.  "My friends are in that alley.  And that's a great feeling of security and a good connection." 

The group of volunteers cooked eggs, baked biscuits and made gravy for the hungry crowd.  The church members also gave out personal hygiene products and clothing for anyone in need. 

"So, you cook eggs, you serve them, you work with a great group of people and you find out there's not much distance from you and the people you're serving," church volunteer Robert Jones said. 

Calvary Episcopal Church will host another free breakfast on Saturday, September 28.