Letter: 12 Baskets Cafe also fills hunger gap

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Your superb recent article on food scarcity and hunger in Western North Carolina [“Feeding the Soul: Spiritual Organizations’ Food Efforts Address More Than Just Physical Hunger,” Dec. 18, Xpress] was a fine bit of research and writing by your staff. Listing so many organizations responding to the critical situation of regional hunger should encourage from your readers more volunteers with time, talent and treasure for all those worthy groups.

Unfortunately, the article omitted one of the most significant and successful such efforts — the 12 Baskets Cafe in West Asheville, created and supported by the Asheville Poverty Initiative. This program feeds scores of area residents from all walks of life, five days a week, offering a wide range of rescued and repurposed food from some of the finest restaurants of the city, grocery stores, retirement communities, hospitals, caterers and others in the food-service industry.

The sit-down-and-served meal is offered by donation, if able, for all those who hunger for nutritious and tasty food, who hunger to belong to a supportive community, as well as those who hunger to help remedy the reality of food scarcity. By being waitpersons, washing dishes, cleaning up after lunch, picking up food from the various donors or making financial donations to help pay the rent and utilities, participants contribute in many different ways.

Similar to the biblical story of 12 baskets of loaves and fishes left over from feeding the multitudes, this cafe serves rescued, untouched food that would otherwise be discarded. This powerful program builds relationships among diverse segments of our beloved city. Stereotypes are dismantled. Fear reduced. Hope empowered.

12 Baskets Cafe is located below Firestorm Books & Coffee on Haywood Road across State Street from Sunny Point Café. Consider joining this diverse community for a delicious lunch and interesting, community-building conversation, Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Recently, the monthly rent for their West Asheville site has been doubled from this venerable, indispensible but vulnerable program, 12 Baskets Cafe of the Asheville Poverty Initiative. So financial major support is of crucial significance at this time. So, also consider financially supporting this worthy cause.

— Jim Cavener
Asheville

Editor’s note: Xpress checked in with the Rev. Shannon Spencer of Asheville Poverty Initiative, who reports: “Our rent has increased but only because Kairos West, the ministry that previously was the leaseholder, moved. Whereas Kairos paid the rent, and we paid a portion when we were sharing the space, we are now paying the full amount, which comes out to being nearly tripled. We still use the space as a community center with other organizations and gatherings occurring in addition to the cafe, but it is a big jump for us.”

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