“We’re going to see our second family,” two smiling freshmen girls, my friends, told me one night as we were walking away from our residence halls.

This second family represents the people at Bread.

“Bread is a place of refuge for Emory students, a place where students can get free coffee and baked goods. But more importantly, it’s a place where they can know they are loved,” said Alicia Marshall, one of Bread’s volunteering members.

Although Bread is based on a strong belief in Jesus, it does not discriminate or preach any specific religion.

“We love Jesus, but our students certainly don’t have to,” Marshall said. In fact, students frequenting Bread come from a large array of backgrounds, and this diversity serves only to make the group more cohesive. Having diverse stories and passions can only make everyone more interesting to each other.

Angie Strycker, “the official boss,” as Marshall calls her, Lindsey Hicks and interns Brooks Gignilliat, Alicia Marshall and Aaron Hoodin, are all part of the welcoming team at Bread. Brooks, Alicia and Aaron can often be seen around the Emory campus, promoting the events at Bread.

What does Bread have in store for Emory students?

“Off Campus Dinner is Monday nights at 6 p.m.,” Marshall said. “We meet at the house and then shuttle to local restaurants to give people a change of pace from the DUC [Dobbs University Center]. Tuesdays we take students with us to Clarkston to spend time with the refugee women and children there. Wednesdays we go to Wonderful Wednesdays and hand out free cookies. Thursday is our biggest event, DBS, or Dinner, Band, Storytelling. Each week at 7:30 p.m., we have a home-cooked free meal for any students that come. We also bring in a local band/performer, and then Angie tells stories.”

What are students’ opinions of Bread? 

In quest of an answer, I received replies like “terrific,” “such warm-hearted people” and “reliable and fun.” Many responders recall the Open House that Bread hosted back in August, and they remember it as a great opportunity to create valuable friendships. Many of the people who showed up at the Open House are still visiting Bread these days. That is no wonder. Between then and now, Bread hosted other much appreciated events, like the recent Halloween party, which, as Alicia mentions, was a hit.

In the near future, the group at Bread prepares some exciting projects. On Nov. 15, a Girls’ Night will take place. On Nov. 21, the “Bread family” plans to take a group to see the premiere of “Hunger Games 2,” and on Nov. 22 at 6 p.m., it will host an authentic Thanksgiving dinner. Several bonfire nights are also in the plans.

When I met my two smiling freshmen friends that night, they also confessed to me that at first they were skeptic to join the group but that they wonder why they had any doubts in the first place, since “it has been the best decision,” they said. Their manifested affection for Bread convinced me to also join the group. It has been the best decision.

– By Loli Lucaciu 

Photo courtesy of Bread