Posted on Feb 15, 2023
Your correspondent admits that the title of this story is slightly misleading. As part of their Campus Ministry, students, staff, parents and Old Boys of St Joseph’s College, Gregory Terrace, supported by friends and community groups, conduct a Big Brekkie for homeless people (and those merely hungry) in and around the gardens of the inner city each weekday morning. The van is affectionately named after Edmund Rice, Roman Catholic missionary and educationalist, founder of the Congregation of Christian Brothers and the Presentation Brothers and it has in fact been operating for well over 26 years.
Rotarian Denise Schellbach with volunteers from RCoB and the community with Eddie's Van
23 years ago, however, it came to the attention of RCoB Rotarian Denise Schellbach that over the Christmas holidays, Eddie's Van was retired to its garage because staff and students of St. Joseph's were all on holidays, and this period is in fact one in which demand for the van's services is very high. Ever since then, Denise has organised for Eddie's Van to continue operation over the Christmas holiday period.
The Rotary Club of Brisbane has embraced the effort as a club project and provides many of the volunteers who operate Eddie's Van each weekday morning from 6am to 8:30am, but the operation would not be possible if there was not also significant help from Friends of Rotary and the wider community, so it is a genuine community project.
Eddie's Van customers line up for breakfast.
Eddie's Van customers line up for breakfast.
Running Eddie's van is a significant job. First of all, consumables like food, petrol, and gas need to be procured on a regular basis. Then a roster of helpers needs to be drawn up and maintained. Last but not least, a minimum of 3 people need to get to the Eddie's Van garage each morning at 6am, prepare the food for cooking, load the van, drive to Wickham Park, cook and distribute an average of 70 hot breakfasts per day, and then drive back to the garage and clean the utensils ready for the next day.
School is back in, and after preparing about 3500 hot breakfasts with Rotarians and other friends, Denise has handed the keys to Eddie's Van back to the staff and students at St. Joseph's school for another school year. We await Denise's call to action in November 2024 and we will answer the call!