“They Knew Him In The Breaking of Bread”

Breadline outside the Catholic Worker Office, ca. 1937 Pile of bread used for breadlines at a Catholic Worker house in New York, ca. 1937

"Every morning now about four hundred men come to Mott Street to be fed. The radio is cheerful, the smell of coffee is a good smell, the air of the morning is fresh and not too cold, but my heart bleeds as I pass the lines of men in front of the store which is our headquarters. The place is packed–not another man can get in–so they have to form in line. Always we have hated lines and now our breakfast which we serve, of cottage cheese and rye bread and coffee, has brought about a line. It is an eyesore to the community. This little Italian village which is Mott Street and Hester Street, this little community within the great city has been invaded by the Bowery, by the hosts of unemployed men, by no means derelicts, who are trying to keep body and soul together while they look for work. It is hard to say, matter-of-factly and cheerfully, “Good morning,” as we pass on our way to Mass. It was the hardest to say Merry Christmas, or Happy New Year, during the holiday time, to these men with despair and patient misery written on many of their faces."

“They Knew Him In The Breaking of Bread.” The Catholic Worker, February 1937, 1.