We’re so lucky at NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley to have a staff of hardworking, committed team-players who work tirelessly at our mission of building affordable housing and enriching community life.
In this series, you’ll get to know the people behind the work.
Tell us about yourself.
Hi everyone! My name is Jason Lawrence. I’m a longtime Providence resident originally from Lincoln, but I’ve also lived in Brooklyn, Oregon, Pittsburgh, and Cape Cod. I’m an occasional DJ, avid record collector, and a bicycle enthusiast. I’m also one of the very few people in the US to have studied the mysterious musical instrument known as the didgeridoo with the indigenous peoples of Australia.
What do you do at NWBRV?
I manage both the commissary kitchen and event space at Millrace. If you want to have a birthday party OR start a business baking cupcakes, I’m the person to talk to.
How long have you been working with NWBRV, and how did you start working with the organization?
I started as the kitchen manager in late August 2022 after seeing a post on a Providence community email list, and took over running the event space this past February!
What inspires you to do this work?
I feed off the excitement our kitchen members have for their businesses (no pun intended—although quality control sampling is a great job perk). I had a long career in the culinary world before returning to school to complete my undergrad, so I’m all too aware of the long hours and hard work it takes to run a food-based business. Many of our members are juggling full- and part-time work along with family commitments on top of their food trucks and catering businesses. That type of dedication is inspiring to me every day, and keeps me motivated to give them the support they need and to ensure we have a kitchen we’re all proud to work out of.
What is your proudest accomplishment working with NWBRV?
Helping to put together the Taste of Millrace event was a great chance to introduce the broader Woonsocket community to the hard work of our kitchen members. I also got to serve up 6 gallons of my secret spiced hot apple cider, which was a nice chance to dust of my kitchen skills.