Breakfast options abound throughout the Valley

Wendy Elliott
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Community meals provide a chance for neighbours to catch up while helping out good causes

By Wendy Elliott

On the third Saturday of March, there were four community breakfasts to choose from in Kings County, according to Valley Events.

Lions clubs in both Coldbrook and Wolfville hosted their own while breakfast was also available at the Scott’s Bay Community Hall or in Centreville.

Judging by the cars, everybody was in Centreville for breakfast. The hall held a record crowd of 284 patrons.

Many had to wait an hour to be fed. Ten additional people chose takeout and about six people had to be turned away.

Volunteer Mary Ellen MacDuff said that folks come “not just for breakfast. It’s a social event. Families get together and neighbours, who didn’t know each other, do some real networking.”

The Good Neighbour Club, which dates back to 1947, organizes the Centreville meal. It takes about 40 volunteers of all ages.

MacDuff describes Lee Kent as the permanent scraper. He performs the same function every month. Two sisters from Newfoundland, Kay Rideout and Sandra Bartlett, retired to Centreville eight years ago and they always wait on the middle table.

MacDuff’s mother keeps a scrupulous scribbler full of details and knows exactly what the menu requires.

The shopping list each month includes: 33 loaves of bread, 33 pounds of sausage and a similar amount of bacon, 45 dozen eggs and 70 pounds of potatoes.

Murray Manzer generally cooks the bacon, but sometimes club president Debbie Dobson takes on that role, while Mervin Steadman fires up the sausages each month. Mary Ellen bakes eight pounds of beans each month prior to the breakfast.

When seated, customers fill out a menu chit for exactly what they feel like eating as the smell of a home-cooked meal wafts throughout the building.

Hearty eaters, like Ray Winkleman and Harold Porter, enjoy the generous portions.

They dine off rosebud china and there are no plastic forks. MacDufff said, “we like things to look good, even if we’re not a restaurant in Wolfville.”

It’s a social event. Families get together and neighbours, who didn’t know each other, do some real networking. Mary Ellen MacDuff, a volunteer at the Centreville breakfast

The breakfasts are the best of both worlds. Patrons leave after having a hearty meal, catching up with community news and the money goes to a good cause.

In its six-year history the monthly breakfasts in Centreville have raised thousands of dollars to maintain the 1920 era hall, which was once the community schoolhouse.

Volunteer caretaker Doug Brown said that since 2002 the community has collected roughly $110,000 to make necessary renovations to the hall. The plan is now to extend the kitchen westward.

Making breakfast for a large crowd means a lot of hard work and a getting up before the crack of dawn.

Lion Brian Coole is on hand at 5 a.m. preparing for the first customers, who will enter the New Minas community hall at 7 a.m. He has volunteered for more than 11 years.

In New Minas, breakfast is a buffet style. Coole might be preparing hash browns or frying the sausage.

His daughter, Jessica, makes the toast. She is conscientious like her father.

Speaking from home, Coole said his legs and back give him difficulty now on breakfast days. “It’s hard to stand that long,” he said.

The Lions feed between 60 and 70 people each month. The funds they raise go toward Lions charities like eyeglass purchases, along with

Christmas and Easter hampers.

Saturday mornings breakfasts include:

• First of the month - New Minas Lions;

• Second - Legion River Street in Kentville;

• Third – Centreville’s Good Neighbour Club and the Anglican Church in Kentville;

• Fourth - United Church, Kentville.

New Minas resident Glenda Bishop tries out as many as she can. “You can get a beautiful breakfast. Each one is so different. Great way to spend a Saturday morning.”

Organizations: Good Neighbour Club, Anglican Church

Geographic location: Centreville, Wolfville, MacDuff Kings Coldbrook Centreville.Judging Newfoundland New Minas Kentville River Street

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