Food News

150 Years of Breakfast

From humble origins in Cranston, the May Breakfast has grown into an annual – and tasty – Rhode Island tradition


If you’re not a born and raised Rhode Islander, you may not be familiar with our most beloved spring food tradition, the May Breakfast. What started as a simple fundraiser in Cranston has become a staple in the Ocean State’s quirky culture.

The original 1867 breakfast was hosted by Mrs. Roby King Wilbur at Cranston’s Quaker Meeting House. The then-president of the Searle’s Corner Benevolent Society intended to raise funds for construction of a new building, a cause bringing in over 400 empty stomachs and an donation amount of $155.50 - an equivalent to a whopping $2,000 today.

The building constructed from the original event is today’s Oak Lawn Community Baptist Church, where May Breakfast continues and will celebrate 150 years on the annual May 1 observance. The fundraisers continue statewide on various days in May.

Newman Congregational Church of East Providence will be celebrating on April 29 with their 82nd Annual May Breakfast. In South County, First Baptist Church of East Greenwich and Rotary Club of North Kingstown will be hosting events on May 6. There are more all over the state all month. Treat yourself to a little piece of Rhode Island while also giving back to the local community. After all, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right?