Every Wednesday before dawn, Peggy Winckowski cooks up pounds of bacon and her famous waffles in the kitchen. Soon, a group of hungry teenagers will descend on her home, all hungry and ready to convene their weekly “breakfast club” meeting.
What started in 2021 as a weekly meeting at a local diner in St. Louis, Missouri, moved to Winckowski’s house after her grandson, Sam Crowe, told his friends his grandma’s cooking was better. With praise like that, grandma agreed to host Sam and his friends, who quickly agreed her food was the best.
“Then, while they were all leaving, they were like, ‘Grandma, what are we having for breakfast next week?'” Winckowski told the St. Louis Review.
The Wednesday Breakfast Club would meet at Winckowski’s home from that day forward. Every week during the school year, two generations, very different on the surface, came together over their love of food, laughter and friendship.
But, in July 2022, Sam was killed in a hit-and-run accident. It would have been understandable for his grandmother to step away from her grandson’s friends and the kitchen to deal with her grief for a while. Instead, Winckowski kept her doors open to friends who needed a place to grieve.
Shortly before school started that year, someone asked a difficult question.
“They asked me, ‘Grandma Peggy, are we still going to have breakfast club?'” she said. “And I told them, ‘I will feed you if you come.'”
The kids showed up. Each week, different students would drop by to share memories of Sam and enjoy Winckowski’s hospitality. The Wednesday Breakfast Club has thrived more than a year since Sam’s untimely death.
“We benefit from her, she benefits from us,” student Mya Dozier told CBS News. “It’s like we feed off each other.”
Winckowski will continue to feed the souls and stomachs of this amazing group of kids. These days, she gets help from people around the community to keep her pantry stocked for her weekly breakfast buffets. But, in the shadow of tragedy, this grandma is grateful for all that has come from this group.
“Sam would be so proud. Look at what he started,” she told CBS. “It melts my heart.”
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