How do we “let all eat”?
Wherever I travel, people ask: how could we expand our circle to include those left out? How do we address suffering, isolation and hunger? How do we nourish our needs for wellness, support, inclusion and community? How do we “let all eat”?
My response is simple: use the ingredients you have and do something. By sharing our time, love and resources, we could all be nourished like we never imagined. Jeff Bridges, who has been fighting hunger for decades, is teaming up with the Zen Peacemakers to create “Let All Eat” Cafés to feed their communities in ways tailored to each location. I met Jeff in Santa Barbara in 1999. This friendship has fostered interesting partnerships. At our Symposium for Western Socially Engaged Buddhism (video below), he discussed his work to end hunger.
He also invited me to join the set of Tron: Legacy as a consultant for the film, which he discusses in another video.
For my part, I have developed a set of Zen koans based on the Big Lebowski. We are happy that his anti-hunger works overlaps with my work to create free community meals that are inclusive, diverse and family-friendly.
Inspired by Success
“Let All Eat” Cafés are inspired by the Greyston Foundation in Yonkers, NY and the Montague Farm Café of the Zen Peacemakers in Montague, MA . Accustomed to spending time on the streets, the Zen Peacemakers and I developed the Greyston Foundation as a set of social services and businesses that meet basic needs and affirm the dignity of all participants. This tradition of blurring the boundary between people being served and people serving continues with the Montague Farm Café, where a mixed income community gathers every Saturday to enjoy free food, activities and wellness offerings. On a given Saturday, there may be hikes in the woods, puppet-making, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and physician consultation. Unlike many soup kitchens, the Café is a family-friendly environment.