With St Chad, St Michael and St Aidan watching every move, Mark Whyte carefully takes a sample of grout from the... read more
The Taranaki Cathedral's Tuesday-morning Community Cafe is doing a roaring trade, offering a full and inexpensive breakfast to all comers.
“It began serving on the first Tuesday in November last year,” said Dean Jamie. “Since then we have served literally thousands of breakfasts and raised well over $5000.
“All the food is donated, and all the funds raised go to the Doctors Without Borders and other international charitable organisations for their lifesaving work.”
There is a regular menu of high-quality coffee, crepes, toast and porridge, including gluten-free ingredients, and every week there is also a special menu offering such items as farm-fresh sausages, bacon butties and other kinds of crepes.
“We have a team of 20 volunteers,” said Jamie. “They do everything from serving at the tables to doing the washing-up, cooking the crepes, clearing up afterwards and setting out the tables first thing in the morning.”
The customers made up a remarkable variety of people.
“We offer a free breakfast to some of the city's homeless. It's a table-service restaurant where people can eat a full hot breakfast, all-in, for three or four dollars. People not on a high income can take the family out for a meal. Others come in for a business breakfast, and others for a family gathering. Mums come in with toddlers, and carers with the little ones they are looking after.
“It's the sort of place where people will never sit on their own unless they want to.”
Jamie said the cafe sometimes became so busy that it was “absolutely manic” and people could spill over into the garden court.
“The cafe has encouraged many people who haven't had any contact with the cathedral to move through the doors and have a great breakfast.”