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Breaking bread builds community
By Jessica David / April 26, 2019 /   Loading Disqus...

There’s nothing like the aroma of freshly baked bread or pizza to attract a crowd. That’s what NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley had in mind when it first envisioned creating the wood-fired, community bread oven that just opened in downtown Woonsocket.

"There is nothing that celebrates community more or brings it together faster than food, especially if it's cooked outdoors over a wood fire, " says Executive Director Joe Garlick. “The Millrace Bread Oven will use the power of food to bring diverse cultures together in a fun way – building neighborhood unity and pride."

Funded with help from our Community Grants program, the state's first outdoor, public bread oven is available for use at the many functions NeighborWorks holds at its Market Square plaza through the year.

"We envision it serving many purposes: as an anchor for our new public market and food business incubator; a catalyst for neighborhood cultural events; a place to make nutritious healthy food; a unique tourist attraction; a striking work of public art; and a magnet for people, stories and community-building entrepreneurs," Joe says.

At the first Community Pizza Night, Marty Pearson of Stone Comfort, the stone and brick mason who built the soapstone oven; Emily Lisker, a long-time Woonsocket resident and artist; and Margaux Morrisseau, NeighborWorks’ director of community engagement; tossed dough, spread pizza sauce, and sprinkled cheese on more than 50 pizzas.

We are thrilled to support this project and thrilled to support the work that NeighborWorks does for Woonsocket.

“The Community Grants program is designed to fund projects that bring people together, connect people with public spaces, strengthen relationships, and build connections with tradition. NeighborWorks and the Woonsocket community managed to hit all of those things with this project, which is a really a wonderful testament to their community,” says our Jessica David, executive vice president of strategy and community investments.


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