Our History

historyThe founders of the Sunday Breakfast Association had a simple goal: to provide a breakfast every Sunday for the poor and to bring them under Christian influence.  Founded in 1878 by well known businessmen John Wanamaker (Wanamaker’s Department Store), John B. Stetson (Stetson Hat Co.), W. Atlee Burpee (Burpee Seed Co.), and former governor James Pollock served as the original trustees.  In the formative years, meals consisted of a roll and coffee. Since then, Sunday Breakfast has grown into a safe haven for the homeless in Philadelphia by ministering to the mind, body, and spirit of those who walk in our doors.


1878

Several Christian men living in Philadelphia start feeding breakfast each Sunday to homeless men prior to attending church.  Over 250 men attend the first official meeting at 11th and Wood Street.

1879

More than 500 men attend weekly, a Bible class was started, and a committee was formed to lodge and assist the homeless.

1908

The New Year’s Dinner hosts 1200 men.

1929

The radio ministry kicks off.  Each Sunday, a service is broadcasted on WPEN.

1930s

In order to accommodate victims of The Great Depression the Board purchased a building at 1120-22 Vine Street in order to house more people.

1942

The Mission moved to 6th and Vine. This building contained 800 beds and was the largest gospel rescue mission on the East Coast. Other features included a chapel, an industrial work area, a homeless shelter, a playground for neighborhood children, and a thrift store for families.

1950s-1960s

Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission continues to intentionally welcome guests of all ethnic backgrounds, despite racial tensions running high in America.

1973

The building at 6th & Vine was closed to make way for city improvements and the construction of the Vine Street Expressway. At that time, the Mission moved to its current location at 302 N. 13th Street.

1991

The long-term Overcomer Program, a recovery program, is initiated. Ultimately, the goal of this program is for these men to return to the community as self-sufficient individuals, contributing to Philadelphia’s economy and quality of life.

1992

Wayne Hall is opened, creating a place of safety and stability for women and children in Philadelphia.

1996

The BeeHive & BeeHive Too Thrift Stores open.

2009

Penndel Thrift Store opens, making the third thrift store owned by SBRM and providing a heightened level of ministry to the hurting.

2011

The Bucks County Outreach program is initiated.

2012

A furniture bank is opened at the Penndel Thrift Store.