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 is distributing takeout meals at its Haywood Road site.
As an eighth grade class who eats, cleans and serves at 12 Baskets monthly, we want to share the insight we’ve gained. The message we hope to relay is the myth of scarcity and how a mentality of abundance can help reframe problems and solve them.
The name 12 Baskets is inspired by the Bible story of thousands of people eating off of a few loaves of bread and fish, which, after being blessed by Jesus, miraculously satisfies the masses. Most people interpret the story as a miracle of God, but instead the founder of 12 Baskets, Shannon Spencer, views the story more about a community sharing. She wonders if people were perhaps inspired to take food out of their own pockets and contribute to the community’s abundance. This story demonstrates the possibility of abundance when people unite in that purpose. She believes that through having a mentality of abundance, everyone can have enough. Because the truth is, there is enough food.
More food than ever that’s in perfect condition is being disposed of in landfills. In fact, 84% of the United States can eat a 2,000-calorie diet off the food being thrown away. 12 Baskets “rescues” the food from restaurants and distributes it, in their free-of-charge, but high-in-spirit, cafe. The myth of scarcity can push people to become apprehensive toward others and to hoard material wealth, but we’ve learned at 12 Baskets that by adopting a mentality of abundance, we can find ways to more evenly and equally distribute wealth and resources, especially food.
We know that problems like hunger seem impossible to solve, but if you go about your day with openness to give, even when it may be hard, our problems can be solved, one small gesture at a time.
— London, Adaiah and Paiden
Students, Francine Delany New School for Children