Loaves and Fishes Needs Volunteers for Breakfast Service (Story: Tennessee Register, Photos: Catholic Charities)

Posted 03/11/2016

For more than 30 years, Catholic Charities' Loaves and Fishes Community Meals for the Hungry has been a midday mainstay for homeless and low income people in Nashville without restriction of religion, race or proof of need.

Every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday of the year, even on holidays, hot, nutritious noon-time meals have been served like clockwork.

In mid-January, the menu expanded to include a simple breakfast on the same three days.

"This is an adjustment we have thought about for quite a while," said Wendy Overlock, Loaves and Fishes coordinator. "We were aware that, for many of our guests, the midday meals we were serving were actually their first meals of the day.

"We immediately had more people than expected," she said.

Doors open for breakfast at 8 a.m. at the Parish Center of Holy Name Church in East Nashville, and volunteers serve the meal to guests from 8:30 to 9 a.m. The menu may vary, but the goal is to provide something warm and nutritious. A recent breakfast served by Father Ryan High School students included a hard-boiled egg, bacon, toast, potatoes, and a packaged cereal bar.

Right now, Loaves and Fishes serves an average of 40 meals a day during breakfast; they serve as many as 200 lunches a day, depending on the season. Overlock expects the number of guests taking advantage of the breakfast service will grow as word continues to spread. "So we will need some new volunteers, as well," she said.

"We would not be able to do as much as we do with Loaves and Fishes were it not for our amazing volunteers," said Megan Stack Emerson, Family Assistance and Community Employment department director. "They have been the driving force of this program."

With the new earlier opening, Loaves and Fishes now has a new opportunity for two to four volunteers a day to help from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. The responsibilities are similar to those of lunch volunteers: assist with meal preparation, serve the meal, and help clean up.

With the addition of breakfast, Loaves and Fishes guests are invited to stay inside in between breakfast and lunch. In addition to more volunteers, Overlock is in need of card and board games that the guests can use if they choose to stay in the building between meals.

Those interested in volunteering for Loaves and Fishes breakfast servings should contact Wendy Overlock at (615) 256-7256 or The program operates in the Parish Center of Holy Name Catholic Church, located behind the church at 508 Main St.

SOURCE: (Page 5)

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