Saturday’s Sunday’s Bread
Every Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. on Beacon Hill, one thing is a definite – a free hot meal is served to those who are hungry. Saturday’s/Sunday’s Bread is an all volunteer organization who makes this happen. The organization’s mission: “to provide these healthy meals in a safe and inviting atmosphere, free from Society’s prejudices and judgments. We ask only that those served, regardless of their situation; join us in perpetuating an environment free of racial, cultural or religious stereotypes.” The homeless, needy or anyone who wants to eat can come to The Church of St. John the Evangelist at 35 Bowdoin Street.
Video: An Inside Look Saturday’s Sunday’s Bread:
A Guest’s Personal Story: His name is Roy and he was very close to death
In January 1983 there were no food programs on the weekends. Two months later, Saturday’s/Sunday’s Bread served its first meal to 54 guests. Today, they have served more than 300,000 guests.
One of those guests, Mr. Roy Eberthardt, a neatly dressed man with a gentle voice gray hair, has been coming for almost 3 years. Born in 1946 on an army base to parents who met during World War II, he grew up in Queens, New York. His neighborhood was full of musical legends such as Count Basie, Brook Benton, Pearl Bailey and Lester Young whom all inspired him.
After high school, Mr. Eberthardt graduated from x-ray school and became an x-ray technician. Hungry for more education, he completed his Bachelor of Science degree in nursing. At the same time, the Vietnam War was heating up. His father, an Army Master Sergeant, teased him, “You had better not go to Canada.”
Instead of crossing the border, he proudly served two years in Vietnam. He lived through Vietnam but would almost die in the United States.
After the military, Mr. Eberthardt worked as a nurse at Lowell General Hospital. One Tuesday afternoon in April 2007 he was due to work a 3 p.m. – 11 p.m. shift. Before work, he went to the store. His life changed forever. “Someone cut me off and my left tire hit curb and blew. The car went up on the side walk. When I knew anything, the airbag and popped out and ruptured my spleen and tore my liver.”
He was flown by helicopter to Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “They saved my life. I woke up 4 days later not knowing what had happened.”
Mounting medical bills, little cash and limited insurance would cost Mr. Eberthardt everything. Six months after the accident he became homeless. The Veterans Shelter saved him from cold nights on the streets. He stayed there for 17 months.
After leaving the shelter in May 2009, Mr. Eberthardt learned about Saturday’s/ Sunday’s Bread, since he rents a room a few doors away from the church. “I don’t have cooking facilities in my residences. I do have a microwave, a bachelor’s best friend. Coming here means a lot to him. “There are a lot of people here that care. People are here to help me and others through out the city.”
The kitchen executives (KE) are examples of people who care and want to help. It’s their responsibility each week to make sure a nutritious meal is served on time.
John Moos, a local attorney with two grown children, has been a KE for 17 years. “My most memorable moment was when a young mother came in with an infant in tow. She asked if we had any formula for her baby. We went out and obtained some for her.”
Mark Metzger, a KE since 2000 recalled receiving 20 inches of snow one Saturday night and no volunteers showed up on Sunday. “I was able to come by public transportation and several of the guests pitched in to help. I remember one guest politely but decisively nudging me aside and taking over serving the meals (cafeteria-style, rather than our standard restaurant-style). He told me he had experience in restaurants and he did a wonderful job. I think we served 54 guests that day.”
Saturday’s/Sunday’s Bread is not the only place to get a meal and/or help. See the map below for a list of organizations that can help in a time of need.
Behind The Scenes
This may seem like a simple operation, but it’s very calculated. Here’s what happens before the doors open:
Some were willing to share their very personal stories and they had a lot to say. Being homeless is never easy but some are using it as a learning experience. Listen here: