Food, Fun, & Fellowship: Andover Hosts Annual Bread & Roses Picnic

Meet Wayne. He’s a middle-aged, liberal Bostonian more in love with the Red Sox than life itself. He works assorted shifts as a construction worker, campaigns at the Democratic National Convention, volunteers at an organization to help immigrants from the Dominican Republic learn English, and he still finds time to baby sit his sister’s children. He does not live with his family, but he certainly came with them to this year’s Bread and Roses Picnic. Wayne and 100 other participants joined over 120 PA volunteers and faculty members at the log cabin last Saturday for the soup kitchen’s annual picnic. Neighbors and friends are all part of this tight Bread and Roses group; Wayne’s “family.” This is not his first Bread and Roses Picnic at Andover and so he knows how to take full advantage of it. He frequents the buffet, and manages to eat as much food as possibly between the hours of 12 and four. Fueled by burgers, brownies, and cookies, he spoke pleasantly about the day’s turnout. “This is awesome. I definitely cannot complain about it,” he said. The picnic was the culmination of weeks of planning on the part of Andover’s Community Service Office. Laura Scuito ’05, one of three general coordinators on the Community Service board said,“There was a lot of planning in general. There was technical preparation like buying arts and crafts supplies and setting up games, but also a different kind of preparation.” She added, “People have to be prepared to be completely open and have no inhibitions. It’s really refreshing [to see how many people came out] for all of the cynicism at PA, it’s nice to see people open up and meet new people.” Community Service Director Chad Green, had similar thoughts on the turnout of this Saturday afternoon. “It was fantastic. We had a great turnout from PA students, as well as great weather,” he said. Both he and Assistant Director of Community Service Kit Leckerling were enthusiastic about the day and hope to continue it next year. PA volunteers were equally excited, and those who had joined the project this year said they would like to volunteer again next fall. “I’m definitely helping out again next year, the turnout was really good,” said Maura Mulroy ’07. Bread and Roses is many things to different people. To Mr. Lanzoni, it is a restaurant that lets its customers keep their dignity. To one volunteer, Becky Agostino ’07, it was something fun to do on a Saturday; and to Wayne? It is his friends, his colleagues, and his family. Because of Bread and Roses, more and more people in Lawrence and surrounding communities are coming together. It is a project that affects their lives and, thanks to the endless efforts of our Community Service board, they were left with only one complaint: “You guys just don’t hold this [picnic] enough times in the year, you’ve got to do it more frequently,” Wayne said. Bread and Roses is not your average “soup kitchen.” Situated in Lawrence, the kitchen, started by Bob Lanzoni, has been in operation since 1980. Bread and Roses’ prime goal is to, “serve it’s customers in the same dignity in which we’d like to be served at a restaurant,” said Mr. Lanzoni. “People who eat [at Bread and Roses] should be able to blend in with those who serve [the food],” he continued. Phillips Academy has been involved with Bread and Roses since the program’s inception. Faculy emeritii Mary Minard and Richard Gross formed the initial partnership with the soup kitchen to involve students in the community.