“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,
And flowers.

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