Where Untold Began
Saturday Morning Breakfasts at the Cathedral of Hope
The Untold project was born from Saturday morning breakfasts at the downtown Dallas Cathedral of Hope, where community members come and participate in a large-scale brunch with their fellow Dallasites free for anyone to attend. Anyone who showed up between 6:30-10 AM ate a hot breakfast for free in the restaurant-style event, served by fellow community members who acted as cooks, waiters, greeters, helpers, and listeners. Diners could get a free haircut from Dallas barbers who volunteered their time, free medical assistance and examinations from local professionals – and each week, many new and old participants took home clothes, shoes, coats, canes, and family planning supplies.
The biggest draw to Saturday morning breakfast, however, was the company.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States and changed the way the world works, Saturday morning breakfasts at the Cathedral of Hope served hundreds of humans each week – primarily Dallasites struggling with homelessness, housing-insecurity, disabilities, or loneliness. Many were LGBTQIA+ – and many were HIV positive – and dealt with ostracization from or absence of family, friends, or support networks.
Some were elderly and wanted somebody to connect with; some were barely teenagers and needed a safe space to serve as home. Diners truly came from all walks of life, and comprised people who had recently fallen on hard times, people who were in the thick of deep personal issues, and people who had been to the bottom and back.
Many survivors like these came back to the breakfasts each week not because they needed the hot meal, but rather to build friendships with people who sorely needed a friend.
The community aspect – the ability to connect, to share stories, and to bond and be heard – was what made Saturday morning breakfasts so unique and important for the Dallas community.
Every week, participants came early and stayed late. They sat at tables talking with friends for hours over food. Some helped with the event, many helped each other. Diners connected with the Dallas community and shared their lives with people across the table. They shared intimate moments – moments of human connection – in a world that had ignored many of them for many years.
Sharing Our Human-ness Despite COVID-19
Each participant at the breakfasts – volunteer or diner – came in each morning carrying baggage holding stories that spanned the gamut of the own human experience. The thread of similarity tying together each individual, and each story, was the uniquely human desire to share and be heard.
After COVID-19 hit, the whole world shut down. But humans – we who need help, and connection, and a place to hear and be heard – don’t just cease to exist. We humans will be humans no matter what, and we all need connection – we all want to be heard.
Life goes on, as it does. Cathedral of Hope has adapted their Saturday morning breakfasts to COVID’s new world, but homeless people now more than ever need human connection. Further, as you shift your lifestyle and priorities to fit into the new reality of COVID-19, it is important that you have human connection, too. It is important that you are seen, that you are heard.