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HANDS/On is our new volunteer program. Be part of the future of Orange by spending a few hours a month volunteering to create artful street-scaping and landscaping. To sign up for volunteering opportunities, please contact Jessica Mathelier at 973-678-3110 ext. 8
Update: HANDS/On will be back for National NeighborWorks Week June 7-15th, 2014.
Valley Earth Oven - HANDS/ON Volunteers Cook Up Community Engagement
For the first HANDS/ON project volunteers put their hands together to build an earth oven from October to November of 2011 in Orange. Thanks to Stephen Panasci, who designed the oven, a fun-loving inspirational mud mentor David Mitsak, and the help of over forty mudslinging volunteers the process was an exciting, memorable project.
HANDS/On, the new volunteer program, gives locals an opportunity to be part of Orange’s developing renaissance by spending a few hours a month volunteering.
In the midst of celebrating HANDS 25th Anniversary, Patrick Morrissy was inspired to unite new locals and established supporters to break bread in the Valley. Molly Rose Kaufman, HANDS’ Community Organizer and Patricia Rogers, VISTA arranged five volunteer sessions to complete the communal oven.
The ancient cooking structure was made out of organic materials like clay soil, sand, straw and water. Our tough mudders diligently mixed ingredients and molded various layers using their bare hands and feet. "There is a certain amount of science behind it to make it work properly," says Panasci, he adds "It’s one of those projects that doesn’t feel like work when you’re doing it.”
The oven is one of a few community ovens free to use in NJ. It is also the first structure built by HANDS in the Valley. Reused glass from Ironworks bedazzles the exterior dome. Recently, Jonathan Foster constructed a glass roof reusing windows and wood from the F. Berg Hat Factory.
HANDS hosted pizza parties with the help of bread-making master Dan Richer, chef and owner of Arturo’s in Maplewood, as a special thanks to volunteers. Look forward to future Earth Oven events including a bread making class as a continuing effort to unite the community.
The communal Earth Oven was featured in the Star Ledger Essex County section; read Communal Earth Oven in Orange Helps to Cook Up Food, Foster Community.
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