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Breakfast Club's growth prompts need for new venue

In five years, the group grew from 12 to more than 350 students.

ALBERTVILLE, Minn. — Back in May we introduced you to The Breakfast Club.

It's a group of teenagers, hundreds of them, who cram into a home in Albertville every other Thursday to eat breakfast and share the word of God before school.

In five years, the group grew from 12 to more than 350 students.

With so many mouths to feed they needed a bigger place.

“We were in two different houses with about 170 in each house, ours another house nearby, and we wanted to try and bring everyone together in one space,” Jake Vanada says.

The group found a space at a local church that agreed to host them every other Thursday, but Jake and his wife Christy wanted a space of their own.

“I was riding my bike in this area this summer and I saw all these barns and I just thought, we should have the Breakfast Club in a barn,” Jake says.

The couple started looking for a barn they could use.

A few weeks later they found one, right across the street from the local high school.

“Their two kids had been to our Breakfast Club before, so they were very familiar with and supportive of what we’re trying to do,” Christy says.

Together with a few volunteers, the couple managed to get together enough tables and chairs to seat more than 350 kids at the barn.

RELATED: Albertville couple helping teens with 'Breakfast Club'

They also found three heaters to heat the building.

But the city wasn’t exactly on board with the idea of squeezing hundreds of kids into an old wooden barn.

City leaders eventually decided to grant them a temporary use permit so the couple could host their Christmas holiday meeting at the barn.

When the day came, more than 350 students showed up at the barn to hear the story of Jesus’s birth.

“The symbolism is just amazing. We’re in a barn to talk about Christmas, which is where according to scripture, Jesus was born, in a manger, in a barn,” Jake says.

After another successful Breakfast Club meeting, the couple is already planning for the next meeting in February.

But before they can host another meeting at the barn, Jake says the city is requiring them to install a sprinkler system, along with a few other safety upgrades to bring the building up to code.

“We have some challenges,” Jake says. “But this community has been so great and there’s just been an outpouring of people who want to help us."

Besides the original Breakfast Club in St. Michael-Albertville, at least six other clubs have formed in recent months.

Christy says organizers saw the original story on KARE-11 back in May and wanted to create clubs of their own.

She says there are now clubs in Jordan, Maple Grove, Monticello, Spring Lake Park, St. Francis and in Amery Wisconsin.

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