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.
In the heart of West Asheville, a group of devoted companions strives to bring a stronger sense of community to the area. These social servants run a cafe known as 12 Baskets. The boisterous laughter, busy feet and constant conversation amble through the open door of the cafe. 12 Baskets is a restaurant where anyone is welcome to come in and get a bite to eat with no bill charged. The food served is rescued from local restaurants, and without 12 Baskets, the food would have been thrown away.
At 12 Baskets, we experience a new environment, a new aspect of life, and we are exposed to other people’s perspectives. We have learned that people should not be categorized strictly by their material wealth. Whether you have an abundance of physical assets or not, everyone has something to offer. The belief that some people are “haves” and others are “have-nots” is an inherent fallacy because everyone shares an element of both. While at 12 Baskets, we have seen people with and without homes serving others food, mopping floors, staying late to clean up and helping all around.
Our experiences so far have been consistently positive and welcoming. We’ve met people from multitudes of social backgrounds, had conversations with people from all over Asheville, the U.S. and even other countries. Going to 12 Baskets has changed our views on people, for not everyone is going there for the same reason. Some people want a meal, some want to serve, and others simply want companionship. The community that the cafe creates allows people like and unlike to break the barriers between them and, in doing so, work together to address our community’s needs.
— Taraka, Kevyn and Cameron
Students, Francine Delany New School for Children