The vision was conceived in September 1987 by Diane Hayward, a math and science teacher, and her husband Bob, a program director at Harris Corporation, Daily Bread, Inc. opened its soup kitchen on January 25, 1988. Located at 412 East New Haven Ave, in downtown Melbourne, in a small red and white house they had the goal of feeding up to 100 people a hot meal between the hours of 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Recognizing there is nothing worse than feeling hungry and it is a challenge to do anything well without nourishment, Satellite High school donated cans of food months before Daily Bread was open. Builders and electricians donated their expertise and trade skills along with volunteers from local churches, civic groups and other concerned citizens to get the Soup Kitchen ready to receive its first hungry clients. Everyone involved felt as if they were God’s compassionate hands reaching out to those who have no one to help them.
Daily Bread’s first day’s menu: Chili, bread and coffee. Fourteen individuals were fed on the first day. Realizing good people get bad breaks and seeing innocent hungry children opened the floodgates of compassion among many who became the support network for to feed the hungry of the community. Within the first 6 months over 8,000 hungry individuals were served.
Daily Bread’s existence brought to light an awareness of how homelessness itself can cause significant psychological problems for an individual. After being open for only eight (8) months future plans began to identify a more suitable facility that included better cooking facilities, dining area, and offices for other service partners offering literacy classes, haircuts, and clothing needed for basic human dignity. “You need to have a whole person approach to get people ready to move forward in a self-sufficient purposeful life.”
The downtown location was not a favorite for local merchants, so a search team was formed to identify another location that would accommodate a larger commercial kitchen, showers, and laundry facilities and a larger food bank. In April 1989 the dream of a new location was realized, when Daily Bread purchased the long abandoned Off the Tracks Lounge at 814 E. Fee Avenue, Melbourne. An army of volunteers transformed the neglected property to meet the needs of the most vulnerable members of the community with their message of hope and open invitation to all in need and the need kept on growing. In 1994, Daily Bread purchased the old Melbourne-Eau Gallie Moving & Storage Co. warehouse at 1408 Morningside Drive, Melbourne and renovated it to be the organizations Food Bank and warehouse facility.
The need continued to grow! In 2014 Daily Bread opened the doors to its new Buescher Outreach Center that has become a one stop shop for hygienic and social services for the Daily Bread cliental. The old facility was renovated in 2015 into a modern commercial kitchen with a completely in door, under air, dining room.