Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Pantry

a Lulu & Friends story

500 words inspired by the Weekend Wordsmith prompt “hunger
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Lulu drove around to the side door of the community food pantry, grinned at her best friend Lola sitting in the passenger seat and tapped the horn.  From Lola’s window they had a view through the doorway and could see folks working inside.  Lu and Lo had spent the last hour at the nearby wholesale club, filling an oversized shopping cart, or “buggy”, as Lo insisted on calling it, with groceries from the pantry’s “How You Can Help” list.  It was a relatively cool summer Saturday in Far North Dallas, the temperature just over 85 degrees at 10am, but even with the car’s erratic air conditioner set at maximum Lulu wanted to get the perishables into the pantry’s refrigerators as soon as possible.

Tricia, the pantry’s manager, appeared in the doorway, clipboard and pen in hand.  Lulu popped the car’s trunk and walked around to the passenger side.  Lola rolled down her window.

“Hey Miss Trish,” said Lola.  “Got anybody to help bring this stuff inside?”

“Hey Miss Lo, Miss Lu,” said Tricia.  She turned to holler into the building. “Delivery!”

“Perishables in the back seat, non-perishables in the trunk,” said Lola.

A herd of teenaged boys and girls quickly unloaded the car and disappeared inside.

“Youth group service day,” said Tricia.  “Y’all wanna do some work before you go?”

Lulu and Lola followed Tricia into the building, past the makeshift office and through the maze of shelving units and glass-fronted refrigerators.

“I thought you’d have way more stuff,” said Lola.

“Donations are down,” said Tricia, “ ‘cause of the economy and all.  Fall’s our busiest time for donations with Thanksgiving and Christmas food drives, but summer’s harder for our clients.  When school’s out, breakfast and lunch programs are shut down, too.  Families need extra help feeding their kids, especially the last two weeks of the month.”

“That’s why we’re here,” said Lulu.  “What do you need us to do?”

The youth group was busy sorting groceries on tables in the center of the work area.

“Today the grownups are breaking down industrial-size product from our corporate donors into family-friendly packages,” said Tricia.  “The ladies at that table in the corner are repacking dried milk.  Or there’s a bunch of seasonings in restaurant packs that need tending to.

“So the choice is pack white powder into kilo bundles or dried herbs into nickel bags?” said Lola.

Tricia laughed.  “Trust me,” she said, “this ain’t no French Connection.  Better music in the 70s.”

“Well, we might could stay for a bit…” said Lo.

“I dunno,” said Lu, turning to look at the clock on the wall over the doorway.  “We’re supposed to meet Travis and Steve for the noon show at the Cinemark, and I have to drop you at your place, then go home and shower and get ready.  Plus Lucky’s gonna need a walk if I’m gone all afternoon.”

“Maybe next time,” said Lo, shrugging her shoulders and turning to follow Lu to the car.  “Driver’s in charge. Sorry.”

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Copyright © 2012, Lulubelle B

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