Community Service Office Organizes 4th Annual Bread and Roses Picnic For Lawrence Families

Students bonded with Lawrence, Massachusetts, families over burgers, board games and bad karaoke at the 4th annual Bread and Roses picnic held at the log cabin last weekend. The barbeque and party is the highlight of Phillips Academy’s partnership with the Bread and Roses soup kitchen in Lawrence. The picnic, a one-day service project, was a chance for students to break from routine and celebrate community, said Community Services Director Chad Green. Green added that the picnic provided the Andover community with the “opportunity to expand our horizons, and find ourselves with people we would normally not be talking to,” Green. For students who regularly participate in community service at the Bread and Roses pantry, the picnic was “an opportunity to bring back what they did in Lawrence to Phillips Academy,” Community Service General Coordinator Matt Garza said. Twice a month, Academy students travel to the soup kitchen to cook and serve meals in the Bread and Roses’ family style dining room. Community Service General Coordinator Susannah Gund ’04, who has served food at the soup kitchen for the past three years said that the picnic is “a great way for students to connect to the community right next door without even leaving campus.” Gund said that she enjoyed the opportunity to connect with the families she has befriended at school, as opposed to at the soup kitchen. The Bread and Roses picnic was coordinated by the Community Service Office, which recruited 100 students and faculty to welcome guests, cook food and provide entertainment. The visitors, who were bussed from Lawrence to the Cochran Sanctuary for the two and a half hour event, participated in games of chess, volleyball, and croquet as well as crafts projects. “It’s a big party, really,” Mr. Green said. “People were enjoying the picnic or each other.” Garza, who was kept busy throughout the day cooking 80 pounds of beef, reflected on his favorite memory of the day, “This one man from Lawrence kept dancing to the music and trying to get everyone to join him, saying, ‘C’mon y’all. Show me where you want to go!’” The Bread and Roses soup kitchen, named for the famous 1912 Lawrence Mill Strike, serves 200 meals a night to needy families from the Merrimack Valley. Andover has worked with the program since its inception in 1980. The 1912 strike’s motto was: “Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread but give us roses.” In that spirit, “The day was designed to give the families a sunny day and a good time as well as a good meal,” said Gund. “Students who serve on a regular basis said they saw people smile who didn’t smile all year.” Tomorrow, the Community Service Office is coordinating the second one-day event of the year, a cleanup of the Spicket River in Lawrence.