In order to ensure that the Café’s mission and vision are fulfilled its founders identified their core values and implemented them. Every board, committee, and staff meeting begins with our reminding ourselves of the following:
Three Peacemaker Tenets: Openness: letting go of fixed ideas, so that I may, Bear witness: to the joy and suffering of the world, in order to facilitate the emergence of Loving actions: that heal myself and others.
The Four Agreements: Be impeccable with your word. Don’t take anything personally. Don’t make assumptions. Always do your best.
These mentor statements aided in the formation of our core operating values at the Café. The staff and board of directors affirm and promote core values that ensure that all people are valued.
At the Café, we know that all people are striving to do their best and that we are always a work in progress. Through our sharing and connections, we learn about one another. Through our communication we create relationships. We treat one another with respect and compassion when discussing challenging issues. We resolve to try again when we fall short.
The Stone Soup Café’s mission is a direct reflection of its humble beginnings. Emerging from the teaching and practices of Zen Buddhism, the Café was conceived by American Zen Buddhist master, Bernie Glassman and his student, Academy award-winning actor and anti-hunger activist, Jeff Bridges. The Stone Soup Café was initially named “Let All Eat Café” when it started in 2010 as a weekly community meal in Montague, MA. Their desire was to create a community meal that treated all people as valuable members of a diverse and inclusive community.
In the beginning, members of the Zen Peacemakers would drive community guests to the meal at its Montague Farm location. Perhaps 20 or 30 people a week would visit the farm and share a meal on a Saturday.
Glassman soon realized that in order to serve a larger community, the Café would need to be located in a more central location. Bernie looked to Greenfield. The All Souls Church congregation agreed to host the meal and a new alliance was born. The Let All Eat Café began serving its Saturday meal in Greenfield in April 2011.
At the end of 2011, the Zen Peacemakers handed the Café project over to Ariel Pliskin. Pliskin’s vision brought the Café to where we are today. Through their experiences at Zen Peacemakers Bearing Witness Street Retreats, Ariel noticed that when they ate at a soup kitchen, the staff would treat them with love, but not with dignity. As a result, Pliskin, Levitt, Glassman, and many others have worked to create a new model of community building and hunger relief in which people of all socio-economic backgrounds are treated with dignity.