Editor’s note: This is the one of several letters we received about 12 Baskets Cafe from students at Francine Delany New School for Children before schools shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. Also, though 12 Baskets’ community space is closed, the organization continues to distribute takeout meals at its Haywood Road site on Tuesdays and Fridays, according to its Facebook page.
Recently our eighth grade class at Francine Delany had the opportunity to go to 12 Baskets to volunteer and serve the people. We also got to talk to people living in our community. One of the important missions of 12 Baskets is to break down the barrier that divides our community into socioeconomic groups.
Everyone in the community is welcome at 12 Baskets. You might think that a free cafe is only meant for people living in poverty, but in reality, the cafe is designed so that anyone is welcome to have a meal, talk and to just be part of the community. The people you might run into could be people who need a warm meal, or they could be someone who just wants to have a simple conversation.
One of the founders, Shannon Spencer, told us about an elderly woman who was retired and she had money, but she was tired of eating at home alone. She wanted to have a meal and talk with other people in her community. We as eighth grade students go to 12 Baskets to learn more about our community and to shift our perspective on people who often get unfairly stereotyped.
Shannon once told us why they have round tables rather than rectangular tables. She said, “Round tables give everyone a chance to be heard because there is no head to the table, everyone is equal.” You might think this is just a minor detail, but it encapsulates 12 Baskets’ mission to include everyone. 12 Baskets strengthens our community, and we encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and visit the cafe for yourself.
— Josh, Jalicia and Holland
Students, Francine Delany New School for Children