Breakfast is served at St. James Carleton Place

Samantha Williams and baby Grayson get the day started right.
By on February 1, 2023

It is 9:15 a.m. Scrambled eggs are cooking in the frying pan. Clad in her new apron, Lynn keeps her watchful eye on the eggs, so they don’t stick to the pan.

Nancy cracks fresh eggs into a mixing bowl, preparing the next batch. 

“We’re running out of sausages,” Ronette calls out, as she quickly checks the supply of sizzling bacon, ready to be served. 

Muffins are being warmed in the oven. 

Hot steam rises from the dishwasher when Paul removes a heavy tray of clean dishes while Tim rinses a pot or dish.

Gloria calls a breakfast patron in the line by name and asks if they prefer brown or white toast, scrambled eggs, bacon or sausage, or other preferences for the food being served that morning and notes it on an order slip.

Janice or Kelly take the order slip to Lynn who portions out the eggs and meat from Ronette onto a warmed plate. They visit Shirley who toasts the bread to add to the meal. Then the full breakfast plate is then given to a ‘runner’ who delivers it to the patron.

This is the bustling breakfast scene in the kitchen of St. James’ Carleton Place on Wednesday mornings.

St. James Breakfast Table (SJBT) had its beginnings a few years ago with three buddies (Peter Hicks, Joe Million and Tim McKibbin) who met for breakfast on occasion at a restaurant. Wanting fellowship themselves, they thought, “wouldn’t it be nice” to share their skills and build community by offering good food and fellowship to others.

They learned about Centre 105’s breakfast program in Cornwall, Ontario. The three friends visited Centre 105 to see if a similar program could operate from the kitchen and parish hall of St. James, Carleton Place.

They figured if they could use the knowledge, skills, and abilities of volunteers, they could make their breakfast program happen.

A diverse group of people come to the breakfasts. The patrons include: people who live alone and are isolated; people who live near St. James; people who reside in community homes and want an outing; seniors who want to socialize; people who are coping with food insecurity; St. James parishioners; and single parents and families with their young children. Even Carleton Place town councillors attend. (A big thank you to Councillor Linda Seccaspina, for supporting, and promoting SJBT on social media.) 

Peter and his team have been fortunate to have an arrangement with local businesses who donate some breakfast foods. Some St. James parishioners bake muffins and bread, donate cans of coffee and kitchen items, and help out with tasks like washing the tea towels. The SJBT team is exceedingly grateful for the ongoing support from St. James church, especially from Cathy Pretty and Father Brian Kauk. In addition, SJBT relies partially on financial donations from patrons and parishioners to keep the program manageable. Funds are often donated back to the community to help the Lanark County Food Bank and the Christmas Basket program.

It’s rare to see someone sitting alone at a table. People invite others to sit with them. Friendships are formed. Birthdays are celebrated. Problems are shared, help and support offered, world issues discussed and solved. A person may enter the room alone and lonely, but they leave nourished not only with food for their body but with friendship and love for their soul and heart too.


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