The young woman flipped the sign on the window to "OPEN". Her blonde hair was tied back in a pony-tail.
The smell of fresh coffee and muffins was in the air. The New Hope Café was run by two women, Alyce Bennet and Christine Collins. The blonde, Christine, was in charge of setting up the main area while Alyce cooked.
Christine went to the couch that was near the kitchen door, gently shaking a form lying on it. "Benny? Benny? Time to get up."
The homeless man that was one of their regulars, Benny, woke with a jerk and sat up with a wide yawn. "Thank ye Miss Chrissy," he said, nodding his head and tipping his tattered hat at her. "Ye and Miss Ally are angels in the flesh ye are. Shore was nice to sleep somewhere warm and dry."
Christine smiled. "Thank you Benny. You know you are always welcome here. Now you wait for your coffee and biscuit before you go. Come back at lunch if you can. We'll need some help cleaning off tables."
"I shore will come and help ye," Benny promised before moving to the bar that was set up in front of a pass window.
Alyce looked out of the kitchen and smiled. "Good morning Benny. Have a good night?"
"Yes ma'am Miss Ally," Benny answered as Christine set a cup of coffee and a biscuit with bacon and egg on it in front of him.
The door opened and a bell jingled to signal the start of the breakfast group that usually came around this time. They didn't get too big of a crowd, most people wanting to go to McDonalds, but they had their regular customers for every meal and sometimes in between.
After taking orders Christine sorted the mail, giving a small squeal of excitement when she saw a letter from her mom. "Alyce! It's from Mom!" she cried and opened it, pulling out a letter and a picture. "Oh look! She got a new little girl! Her name is Lilly! Oh look at her! She's so cute!" she said, showing around the picture of a brown-haired toddler with large brown eyes and a big smile. "Her parents are going to all of their court dates and doing everything they are supposed to, so hopefully they will be getting her back soon," Christine read from the letter while putting the picture up on the wall sized board that held many other pictures of children and teens that her mother had helped. Under the pictures was a painted glass bowl with a sign that said "donate to foster care and help them have a better life". Several people looked at the pictures, then at the sign and most gave a little.
Christine smiled brightly and gave out free cookies to the ones who donated. Alyce came out with plates of food: pancakes, eggs, bacon, biscuits, sausage, sausage gravy and waffles along with jams, butter and honey as well as sugar and creamer for the coffee. Everything was set up on the bar so people could come and serve themselves. What set the café apart was the family style atmosphere they emanated. Breakfast buffet was $4.00 for sit-in, with free coffee refills.
Alyce and Christine were surprised to see several new faces among the regulars. Christine smiled brightly to the new people. "Welcome to New Hope café. Help yourselves."