Brea (pronounced Bree) smiled as she looked around the crowded room. Friends, relatives, business employees, patrons and volunteers filled the coffee house. She drew in a deep breath before addressing the waiting crowd.
“Excuse me, can I have your attention? As you all know, ‘Everyone Needs a Break’ began ten years ago. Because of all your hard work and dedication, we’ve made “The Break” what it is today. I’ve asked my friend Cathy to come and share her story. She volunteers here every Thursday and Saturday. Cathy, please come up.”
Brea stepped aside as Cathy nervously approached the stage.
“Hi. I was 17 years old when I fist came to ‘The Break.’ I still remember the first time I went…
Four years earlier
“So are you coming or not?” Fred angrily shouted.
“I donno know. I hate going to those Christian food service things. ” Cathy bitterly shot back.
“I’ve told you before, there’s no church service. It’s a coffee shop. There’s this chick who owns it. Her name is the same word for a kind of cheese…I can’t remember. There’s free food and drinks. I don’t care if you come or not, I’m getting something to eat. See ya’. ”
“I went, and was so surprised. Back then, “The Break” was just a regular business, except from 9-11 pm they opened their doors to people who needed a place to sit and warm up. Living on the streets made me real skeptical of people’s motives, but Brea never preached to me. She was…different. I remember her coming up to me and introducing herself as …
Four Years Earlier
“Hi. I’m Brea, but my friends all add a” k” to the end of my name ‘cause I manage to break almost everything I touch.”
“And at that moment, Brea dropped the cup of coffee she was bringing to me. It flew everywhere. I instantly liked her.
After a year of going to “The Break” almost every night, I confided in Brea that I wanted to clean up my life. I had been living on the streets for almost three years and knew I needed to get out, but I had no idea what to do…
Three years earlier at “Altwood Community Church.”
“See Cathy, it wasn’t as horrible as you thought.”
“Are you kidding me Brea? Maybe not for you, but your not the one with the problem! I thought only the movies did the, “Hi, I’m Cathy and I’m an alcoholic,” that was so uncomfortable, but…but, good on the same hand.”
“Cathy, I’m proud of you. What you did required so much courage.”
“Thanks. Listen, I gotto go get ready for work. Thanks again for recommending me. It feels good to work again.”
“But while Brea helped me get a job, she was going to lose her business.”
Two years earlier
“Oh, Mr. Grady, are you here for the rent again?! Listen…”
“Actually, I wanted to let you know that yesterday I received an anonymous package, but inside was YOUR rent money for the next three months. I must say Brea, I thought I was going to have to evict you. I don’t know why you would throw away a successful business, just so you can open your doors to a bunch of undeserving…”
“Stop right there Mr. Grady! You may own this building, but that doesn’t give you the right to talk about people that way. They’re human beings who need to be loved. I don’t care if I lose money.”
“ ‘The Break,’ has grown from an evening ministry, into a full time outreach to the streets.
Brea always tells new comers about her name. How her classmates always stuck that “k” on the end because she was a klutz.
Brea, when I look around this room, I see recovering drug and alcohol addicts. I see former prostitutes and people you’ve loved without hesitation. Your faithfulness, love and commitment have fixed broken lives.“
Brea brushed away the tears as Cathy turned her eyes on her.
“We want to give you a little something.”
Brea walked to the front of the room to accept the thin brown package from Cathy.
Inside the package was a beautiful oak frame which housed a photograph taken with “The Break’s” volunteer staff outside the shop.
“It’s beautiful,” Brea started to say. Then she noticed that the wording of her shop’s sign in the picture had been changed.
It read, “Everyone Needs a Brea.”
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