“Without Harvesters, we’d be in big trouble and probably couldn’t serve the numbers that we do,” says Erin Bassett, Chef at Morning Glory Café, part of Morning Glory Ministries and a Harvesters’ partner agency.
Using the beat of her favorite tunes as a metronome, it takes Bassett 15-20 minutes of rapid-fire cracking to break 30 dozen eggs in preparation to feed an average of 150 unhoused neighbors in search of a warm and nutritious breakfast to start the day.
The eggs will be combined with day-old bread to create a series of breakfast casseroles Monday through Friday at Morning Glory Café, 20 W 9th Street.
Some days the chef adds 20 pounds of bacon to her prep. About 60% of the ingredients used to make breakfast comes from Harvesters.
The menu includes egg bakes, pancakes, bacon, oatmeal and coffee. After breakfast the ministry also provides assistance with clothing, hygiene, pantry items, birth certificates, state identification, work clothing, blankets, backpacks, shoes and more.
Bassett earned her culinary degree at Johnson County Community College. The mother of two, she’s spent the last eight years cooking or teaching at various nonprofit organizations, including Cornerstones of Care, Nourish KC and others.
“I have a history of addiction, poverty and not having a lot of money and necessities. Whether that’s been my fault or somebody else’s,” she says. “I’ve also been in the same situation where I’ve made a huge mess of my life, and I had to pull myself out of it. I wasn’t totally on the soup kitchen level but like it was very relatable.”
Food is a basic human need: “When people are hungry, they make crazy, irrational decisions.”
Erin is grateful for the opportunity to help others start their day with a nutritious breakfast in hopes they can make progress forward.
“People see the one crazy guy on the corner and they think that’s all homelessness is, but that’s simply not the case,” she says.
Most of the unhoused people she feeds are good people in need of proper health care, a warm place to sleep and food to eat.
“I don’t know why (more people) don’t see an equivalence between crime and food insecurity… If the community kitchen closed down for a day, huh, my god the town would go nuts! A bunch of people without food would go hungry… Downtown and other places that are trying to minimize homeless activity, (but) taking their food away is not the way.”