“When Santa Claus Dreams”
A Celebration of Volunteers and Pantry Power
Santa Claus envies me,
All he drives is a sleigh.
He dreams of riding in my van
As I volunteer for the Food Pantry!
Santa burgles into houses,
But I am invited into grocery stores.
He crawls down the chimney,
But I march in at the loading dock.
Santa leaves behind a few toys,
But I wheel out carts of life-giving food.
I slowly steer down a long ramp
And park by my van.
Carefully, I transfer the treasure:
First, boxes of fruits and vegetables,
Next, cases of salad, hummus and pasta,
Then sausage and luncheon meats.
I chauffeur boxes of bread,
Then I will pursue pumpkins,
And embrace bouquets of flowers.
In my mind I can see neighbors walking through our front door:
As they come in, some will be smiling,
Some will stare at the floor, too nervous to look up,
Some will look wooden,
Some will look wounded.
Each will receive a warm hello.
They will hear questions with respect.
They will choose fruits and vegetables,
Salad, meat, bread, a pumpkin,
They will walk out with more than they can carry.
Smiling, they will return home,
Some on a bus, some in cars.
I feel bad for Santa Claus,
His toys run out of batteries
Or break or become boring.
The treasure in my van evicts fear,
And renews hope.
by Benjamin Unseth