Like many of us, the Early Bird Cafe was bright and thriving throughout 2019. We served 80+ hot brekkies each weekday morning and welcomed many in need into our cafe at St Stephen’s Uniting Church. Little did we know how things would change. It wasn’t easy, but we found ways to adapt in the pandemic. Here’s how we continued serving those in need.
Adapting to the pandemic
By March 2020, Sydney was shut down and the Early Bird Cafe had shut too. The biggest concern was the health and wellbeing of our customers, volunteers and supporters. We knew we had to pivot if we wanted to continue serving brekky and supporting our community in a safe way.
Thankfully, we were able to reopen for take away service in June 2020. To make our service as safe as possible, we made a few changes:
- Switching to take away service instead of sit down meals
- Making sure every volunteer received aprons, masks and gloves
- Extended opening hours to help with social distancing
- Offering early vaccinations to our frontline volunteers and customers thanks to St Vincent’s Hospital Outreach service
It was a big effort from all involved and it saw us through the hardest days. We are pleased to share that we have remained open every single weekday morning since – including public holidays.
What's next for Early Bird Cafe?
We’re well and truly back in the swing of things for 2022. We haven’t missed one weekday morning and there are no plans to change that! Our volunteers are out from 6am-8.30am each weekday morning, working in teams of 6-7. Each year they provide 3,900+ hours of volunteer work.
We’re proud to be a charity run 100% by volunteers – from the ones serving brekky to the Chairman and Treasurer. Behind the scenes they’re coordinating cooking bees, unloading deliveries from our charity partners, collecting donated goods from the community and much more. If the past few years taught us anything, it’s that great things are achieved when we work together.
Small things make a big difference
Supporting the disadvantaged in Sydney’s CBD can be as small or as big as you choose with Early Bird Cafe. It’s as simple as helping to prepare a hot meal and having a friendly chat. Or as easy as donating blankets for the winter. Many of our volunteers tell us how rewarding it is to spend a morning helping others in need. Check out our website for more information on how you can donate your time, donate practical goods or buy someone brekky.