Jeff Bridges, who has been fighting hunger for decades, teamed up with the Zen Peacemakers to create “Let All Eat” Cafés to feed their communities in ways tailored to each location. Bridges met Zen Peacemakers founder Bernie Glassman in Santa Barbara in 1999. Over the years, their friendship and partnership have developed. At Zen Peacemakers’ Symposium for Western Socially Engaged Buddhism, Jeff Bridges discussed his work to end hunger.
“Let All Eat” Cafés are inspired by the Greyston Foundation in Yonkers, NY and the Stone Soup Café in Greenfield, MA. Accustomed to spending time on the streets, the Zen Peacemakers 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 Stone Soup Café, where a mixed income community gathers every Saturday to enjoy free food, activities and wellness offerings. Unlike many soup kitchens, the Café is a family-friendly environment. The Stone Soup Café was started by the Zen Peacemakers in 2010 and continues as an independent entity today.
The most important partners in establishing the Stone Soup Cafe are the Zen Peacemakers and the All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church. The Zen Peacemakers tenet of Bearing Witness and the Unitarian principle of affirming and promoting the worth and dignity of each individual shape the Café’s unique approach. While these influences are important, the Café welcomes people off all backgrounds without being tied to any specific tradition.