after 8 a.m. on Wednesday and Thursday mornings, and chances are you will hear a buzzing chatter and the sound of coffee being poured coming from the USask Community Centre. Inside, you’ll see people, seeking food and friendship while enjoying the Good Breakfast.
The Faith Leaders’ Council was created by the University of Saskatchewan two years ago and includes representatives from multiple religions and denominations who help support the campus community’s spiritual wellness.
Ecumenical Christian faith leader David Kim-Craig has helped organize the Good Breakfast since it started last year. He says the initiative was made to address food security on campus. The idea was proposed to the faith leaders by the former Graduate Students’ Association president.
“It struck me at the time that I knew a number of different congregations in the city, and that a number of them would be willing to prepare muffins or something very simple for breakfast,” Kim-Craig said.
Not long after the Good Breakfast program began, it became so popular that they expanded the service to twice a week. Kim- Craig now co-runs the program with the Lutheran faith leader George Hind, who looks after the Wednesday breakfast.
The free breakfast serves a delectable spread of toast, fruit, muffins and hard boiled eggs. This light meal can be taken to go by students rushing to a morning class, but people are encouraged to stay and chat.
Although the program was started as a food security initiative, Kim-Craig quickly discovered that many people were coming because they were also “just hungry for company.”
“I never anticipated that the response would have been so positive,” Kim-Craig said.
“I think a lot of the energy of the breakfast comes from the fact that people are just looking for some community.”
He says that the majority of the Good Breakfast’s attendees are international students. Kim-Craig believes it can be challenging for students from other countries to make meaningful connections during their exchange.
He says the “magic” of the Good Breakfast comes from the fact that these students are so willing to interact with one another.
“Nobody is sitting at their own tables, or speaking their own language or in their own clique,” Kim-Craig said.
“Everybody is sitting together and getting to know one another. Intentionally, people are doing that and it’s creating a really great little family.”
Catherine Davila is a student from Peru who is a first year toxicology master’s student at the U of S. She has been attending the Good Breakfast regularly since the fall and appreciates having a day of the week where she can save time and money by not having to prepare breakfast.
Davila enjoys the fact that if you don’t have time to stay for breakfast, you can take your food to go. As an international student, she finds it very valuable to have a service where people can share their experiences.
“The special thing here is that you can find people from different countries, learn about other countries, people’s backgrounds and their ideas,” Davila said. “Also, you can improve your conversational skills if you’re like me and English isn’t your first language.”
The U of S faith leaders are trained to support the campus community and work to promote spiritual wellness.
Kim-Craig says the program is inclusive to everyone who wants breakfast and people are not required to have any religious belief to come. But a “side effect,” which surprised him, was that conversations about faith often emerge, especially around the holidays.
He says that physical, mental and spiritual health as well as having a sense of belonging are all related parts of well-being. Because of this, he believes that having a place like the Good Breakfast for students to connect can make a huge difference.
“It can go both ways because lonely students are often students that are not eating well, and if you don’t have money to buy food you can be lonely,” Kim-Craig said. “But if you’re lonely you can have no appetite, so it’s all an interconnected thing.”
Noah Callaghan/ Staff Writer
Photo: Noah Callaghan/ Staff Writer