A SECOND HARVEST

by Lindariel

Written for the Winterfest Online 2023 “Plot Bunny” Chat Project
Plot bunny selected from The Warren:
Helpers/Hearthside: Stores and restaurants
dispose of so much edible food. Such waste!

Is it? Things are different in NYC where Helpers keep watch.

* * *

“Here you go, George,” said Henry Pei, as he handed the last box of leftover food from the restaurant’s evening dinner rush. “Thanks so much for adding us to your route.”

“It’s my pleasure, Henry,” replied George Robinson, placing the box in the back of his delivery van. “I’m so glad you signed onto this project at Winterfest. If we all work together – all the Helpers with grocery stores, bodegas, butcher shops, and restaurants – we can help provide our leftover food for William’s kitchen Below and to local food pantries and soup kitchens.”

“It’s a terrific project,” Henry agreed. “I just wish we’d thought of it sooner.  I hate to think about all of the food we had to discard over the years because of health codes, when it could have been put to immediate use to feed hungry people.”

The two men worked together to pull down the sliding door at the back of the van, emblazoned with the name of George’s store – Robinson’s Grocery – and then shook hands.

“Oh, by the way, congratulations on opening your new store next week,” Henry added.

“Thanks so much,” George replied. “I hope you and Lin and little Vivian will be able to come to our grand opening.  Mr. Burch, I mean, Mr. Kaczmarek said he’s sent invitations to all of the Helpers on Father’s list.”

“We certainly will,” Henry answered with a grin. “Stan is so excited that you and Shirley agreed to open your second grocery store in his building. You’ll have a built-in clientele right there in the building, between the low-income housing tenants, the dining hall Stan has put in for both his tenants and his foundation staff, as well as folks throughout that area.  That neighborhood has needed a real grocery store for a long time.”

George grinned in return. “It was a great opportunity for us. We’d been looking for a second location to expand our business, but as I’m sure you know, it can be difficult to find building proprietors who are willing to take a chance on a minority, family-owned business rather than a big chain.  This new location in Mr. Kaczmarek’s building is a dream come true. Shirley and I can’t wait for the rooftop garden to start producing fresh vegetables for the dining hall, the folks Below, and the store.”

“We’ll see you at the opening,” Henry replied. “I’m sure you’ll be a big success. Please give my greetings to Sister John the Baptist when you stop at the St. Francis Soup Kitchen.  Tell her, I hope her guests enjoy all the chicken fried rice, egg rolls, and beef with broccoli. We were supposed to help cater a party that got canceled at the last minute, and the host said to just donate the food when he paid the bill.”

“I sure will,” George said as he waved good-bye and jumped into the driver’s seat of the van.

George smiled with satisfaction; one more stop at David Lee’s deli and then he could bring this eagerly awaited second harvest to the soup kitchen and to William.  It felt good to know that all this delicious food wouldn’t go to waste!

_________________

Author’s Note:  In my imagination, this effort on the part of Helpers eventually becomes a nonprofit food collection organization called A Second Harvest.

7 Comments

  1. I like this idea of helping the poor and hungry. It’s a beautiful picture of many people working together not to waste food but to use it for those in need. This is such a positive story! Thank you.

    Reply
    • Thanks so much, Paula! There are actually nonprofit organizations out there that do exactly this — work in tandem with grocery and convenience stores, butchers, bakeries, and restaurants to collect the food these establishments are required by law to dispose of every day and redirect it to soup kitchens and food pantries to serve the poor and hungry. I’m just imagining that the original idea came from a group of Helpers and bloomed into a nonprofit called A Second Harvest.

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this!

      HUGS,

      Karen/Lindariel

      Reply
  2. I really enjoy different stories set in an over-arching universe that intersect through characters and story lines. Yours is a good one! I feel like I’m really getting to know your original characters and it’s like they are and have always been there, waiting for their stories to be told. Thank you for adding to the chapters to your larger tale!

    Reply
    • Thanks so much, Carole! I ADORE your writing, so any compliment from you means the world to me. I was glad for this opportunity to introduce George Robinson as a character, rather than just the name of a Helper who owns a minority family-run grocery store. Hopefully, we’ll see more of George as my BATB universe continues to expand. After all, I need to write about the grand opening of Elliott/Stan’s Juniper Street building with its Mathilde Kaczmarak Innovations in Housing Foundation office, low-income-housing apartments, community center, medical clinic, legal aid office, child care facility, on-site kitchen/dining hall, roof-top garden, and FINALLY a good quality community grocery store run by George Robinson and his family.

      So glad you enjoyed this!

      HUGS,

      Karen/Lindariel

      Reply
  3. Really enjoyed reading this. Very well written and a brilliant read. I get lost in all these wonderful fanfics. I am always when I have a spare minute in the tunnels. Even been known to prop my phone up and be reading when cooking. Wonderful

    Reply
    • Thanks so much to a fellow Karen! I’m so glad you enjoyed this story. It’s actually set within my own BATB AU, so if you haven’t had a chance to read my other stories, please do! If you read His Own Kind of Nobility and Walking Unfamiliar Ground, this little story will make even more sense.

      HUGS,

      Karen/Lindariel

      Reply
  4. Lindariel, I love the way you mirror the tunnel community with the world Above in such heartwarming ways. It makes me happy to think the rest of the world might emulate the tunnel practices and philosophies. It gives everyone hope. Thank you for sharing this story!

    Reply

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