Breakfast Brigade is a ministry inspired by a Spring Break Mission Trip way back in 2007.
We serve breakfast to day labor workers every Thursday morning. We meet in the Catholic Center at 3:30 am to bake fresh bread, boil eggs, make coffee and gather fruit so that the day labor workers have something tasty to eat before they head to their jobs.
What is Day Labor?
Day Labor are non-permanent jobs, usually to provide unskilled, manual labor. Due to the low wages and the usually arduous and undesirable nature of the work offered, these agencies rely on the employment of low-income and often homeless individuals.
For a worker lacking a permanent address, identification, a felony record, and/or marketable job skills, day labor is the only immediate option for fiscal survival.
It is estimated that over 60% of homeless individuals in Cincinnati work, yet still remain without enough income to obtain permanent housing.
Our church teaches us "a just wage is the legitimate fruit of work. To refuse or without hold it can be a grave injustice (Catechism, #2434)."
Since the workers must get to the labor halls so early, many must forgo breakfast. That's where we come in. We bake fresh bread, boil eggs, make coffee and prepare oranges to take to a labor hall in Cincinnati. Our work is a humble act of solidarity with our brothers and sisters.
MOVING FROM CHARITY TO JUSTICE
Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers is one of the main themes of Catholic Social Teaching. Through the Breakfast Brigade, we meet the immediate needs of day laborers. We want to be in solidarity with them through the sharing of the meal. However, we must not stop with the Breakfast Brigade. We must also seek to work to change the systemic problems underlying the need of day labor and the associated problems.
One place in Cincinnati that seeks to bring justice to the rights of workers in our communities is the Cincinnati Interfaith Worker Center. Located in Over-The-Rhine, the Center acts as advocate for workers. We encourage you, if you feel called to help our day labor friends, to contact them and find out how you can make a difference. For more information, click here.
You will find that charity is a heavy burden to carry,
heavier than the kettle of soup and the basket of bread.
But you must your gentleness and your smile keep.
Giving soup and bread isn't all, that the rich can do.
The poor are your masters, terribly sensitive and exacting as you will see,
but the uglier and dirtier they are, the more unjust and bitter,
the more you must give them of your love.
It is only because of your love, only your love,
that the poor will forgive you the bread that you give them
St. Vincent De Paul
We pray for the day when we do not have to do Breakfast Brigade.
INTERESTED OR WANT MORE INFORMATION: Contact Chris Moell (email@example.com ) or Sheamus Togher(firstname.lastname@example.org) our Breakfast Brigade Coordinators.