The weather is turning again, with summer gone and the cold of winter ahead. Bread & Roses bristles with activity during the holiday season each year, from our Thanksgiving morning brunch through the New Year. During that time, we’ll have a photographer in to take Christmas photos of our guests, and distribute our annual holiday bags full of warm winter necessities. As is the case in all of our homes, everyone here at Bread & Roses welcomes the time with family and friends to give thanks for the many blessings that we have, and to rejoice in the season.
We’re so grateful to have such a large extended family of long-time and brand new volunteers, guests, staff, donors and supporters. It’s always fascinating to listen to the ‘long-timers’ sit and reminisce about how Bread & Roses came to be, when a handful of selfless individuals came together to meet an unmet need in their community. Their collective goal was to not only provide food and warmth for those in need, but create an atmosphere of caring dignity and an unwavering respect for all who enter the building. Over the decades, services have been added, faces have changed, but the mission has always remained the same - hot, nutritious food served with dignity and respect in a warm, safe environment.
Bread and Roses came into being because a group of committed individuals strived to provide for others in need, and 38 years later, we continue to exist for the same reason. This past year has been a time of enormous changes in the world, and sometimes we may feel a bit overwhelmed with what we cannot do - I ask you to believe in doing the good that’s possible for each of us. If we all do our part, the work continues.
The History of Bread & Roses
Our name, Bread & Roses, comes from the title of a song written about the 1912 Lawrence Mill Strike. The song sings of the courageous women who participated in strikes, calling for bread for themselves and their starving families.
Deepak Chopra said, “All great changes are preceded by chaos."
Change is a part of life that’s not always good, or easy, but happens whether we’re ready or not. While Bread and Roses has always shifted quietly to adapt to the needs of the community, outwardly, there’s never been a bump to acknowledge that a change would come. Although change can be difficult, it brings new opportunity. Here at Bread & Roses, we welcome this kind of change as well as the opportunity to better serve our community of staff, volunteers, and guests.
In the past year, Bread and Roses has been awarded two large grant awards, and as a result, we’re seeing huge changes around the building. The first award was $100,000 from the Cummings Foundation. This grant has been utilized to purchase solar panels, install new windows for the second floor offices, remodel the kitchen, add a composter, and gardening boxes, so we can grow vegetables and flowers for our own use, and for a few other program needs. Most of the work done in the kitchen was coordinated and completed by a new volunteer, Jim, and with the help of our loyal helpers George and Tony. Jim used his skills to build a beautiful, comfortable space with lots of storage. Now, everything that belongs the kitchen is in the kitchen!
The second grant we received was from the Amelia Peabody Charitable Fund, awarded to address food insecurity in the community. We were able to use a portion of it to purchase a ‘new to us’ van, some for a portion of our case manager’s salary, and the remainder for the necessary environmentally-friendly outreach materials. Our outreach van has allowed us to access bigger and more frequent food donations, and to share this bounty with both individuals and partnering agencies. Particularly in the colder weather, when so many in the community struggle with basic life necessities, Bread and Roses was able to enhance our work space to be more efficient, and acquire more resources to alleviate hunger, to provide critical life supports, and to coordinate necessary services within our community.