COLUMBIA — It was still dark when Pearlie Moore entered St. Luke United Methodist Church Monday morning. Not long after her arrival at 4:45, bacon started sizzling and eggs started cracking for the annual Poor People’s Breakfast.
The breakfast is an early-morning tradition on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and Moore was “excited about getting people together to realize the dream of the civil rights leader.”
Moore said she volunteered to cook for the breakfast to give back to the community, but this breakfast is about more than helping out and giving back.
Moore has lived with racism and heard stories from her mother about the struggles of living with racism. Moore also remembers her mother telling her about how she marched with Dr. King in Mississippi.
“I celebrate his life,” Moore said. “He gave his life for future generations of people as a whole to live free and equal.”
Moore said the most important part of the breakfast is that, like King’s dream, it is for everyone. The breakfast is free and open to the community; donations go to the church for use of the building.
As the sky lightened, the laughter of the volunteers filled the bright kitchen at St. Luke. The tiny room was full of smiling faces and the delicious aromas of a home-cooked breakfast. Soon the fellowship hall filled with about two dozen people, ready to eat.
“It makes you feel good to help someone else,” Moore said as she stirred a pan of scrambled eggs.
David Franta of the Columbia United Way said he attended the breakfast to meet people and see friends, as well as to honor Dr. King.
“It’s a good way to start the day,” Franta said.