Chestnut Street Baptist Church serves up a mean omelete at Camden’s weekly community breakfast
CAMDEN – Every Monday morning at the Chestnut Street Baptist Church, 29 Chestnut Street, the community is invited to enjoy breakfast together. The breakfast begins at 6:30 a.m. and is served until 9 a.m. Breakfast is cooked-to-order and the menu includes eggs (any style, except poached and hard-boiled) bacon, sausage, home fries, toast, coffee, tea, juice/milk. Specials each week vary from waffles to pastry, or homemade muffins.
And, did I mention it is open to everyone and free of charge?
Susan Craft is the supervisor for Camden Community Breakfast, a ministry of Chestnut Street Baptist Church. She said the breakfast is not about the food. It's about welcoming the community through their doors.
"We feed them a good breakfast and they can order what ever they want," she said. "Our guests range from the very, very poor to the very, very rich. They all sit down, break bread together and have fellowship. It's a sense of community and outreach at the same time."
Craft said the program will celebrate its two-year anniversary in March.
"Every six weeks we have free-services day and that's when we give free haircuts," she said. "We're always looking for new items people can bring in. Soaps, shampoos, body wash. We get a lot of toothbrushes and toothpaste from area dentists."
Craft said that on a typical Monday they will serve approximately 80 people for breakfast.
"Our highest day has been 107 people,” she said. "And that's within the two and a half hours. It can get a little hectic in here, but we function just like a real diner."
Guests sit and server will offer a beverage and give them a menu. People check off what they would like and it's off to the kitchen to be prepared. When it's ready the server delivers it to the table.
"It has a good feel to it," Craft said. "Some even say that it is the best part of their week."
Craft and two others, Tina Williams and Warren Erickson, arrive around 4:45 a.m. to start the kitchen. prep work. Craft and Williams are from Camden. Erickson is from Rockport.
"We actually have a core group of people who are here at 6:30 a.m.," she said. "And they stay sometimes two hours. If you came in a five minutes of nine, we'd still serve you. No one would be turned away. It's not like a buffet. You sit down, you get a server, and they take your order.”
It's about sitting and eating together, and being part of a community.