Haibun: Today’s Menu

For Susan’t prompt at Poets United Wednesday Motif: Zero Tolerance. Not one of my usual spare haibun.

Haibun: Today’s Menu
“Kindness is free.” Anthony Bourdain

Today’s Menu: Steamed cabbage, cole slaw, cabbage rolls made with deer meat, mashed potatoes, apples and oranges for dessert, white loaf bread. Tomorrow the meal will be tuna casserole with lots of noodles, cole slaw, restaurant donated desserts. All these items have been made with donated food – rotten pieces cut off from vegetables, meat donated by local hunters, dried milk to add protein in the potatoes. I cut and cook and serve along with the other volunteers. At 11:00 people begin lining up for their daily meal. They shuffle through the line – some of them with their eyes down, others bright and cheerful, some resigned, all of them grateful. No keto diets, no special needs meals, no no-carb meals, no I’m vegetarian or vegan. They are all hungry. They eat what they are given. They want some of everything. They eat it all and when everyone has gone through the line and all the places at the tables are filled and all are fed, they come back for whatever leftovers are offered. We smile at everyone. We plate the food carefully rather than slopping it on a plate. We try to give respect. I volunteer three days at week at a local food bank cooking food, making up bags of donated staple food, serving it and washing dishes afterwards. I look them all in the eye. This is the face of America. These are the invisible hungry in our midst. I have zero tolerance for hunger.
spring-like winter day –
the hungry come every day –
a chill in the air

22 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. susa
    Feb 06, 2019 @ 16:14:55

    wow! I totally LOVE this poem. I take it all as true from menu to looking into the faces of we the people. Thank you for doing it and thank you for the beauty of expressing it.


    • kanzensakura
      Feb 06, 2019 @ 18:25:29

      Thank you Susan. Haibun are actually true occurances rather than flash fiction so unfortunately, it is all true. A food bank can provide 10 meals for the cost of a dollar. We have challenges fixing meals from odd donated food but we manage!


  2. Sherry Blue Sky
    Feb 06, 2019 @ 16:34:17

    “This is the face of America.” Yes, and it is hungry, and struggling. I love that staff plate the food carefully, give respect, look people in the eye – acknowledging your fellow humans. How wonderful that such places and people exist for those who are suffering. Bless you for that work, Toni.


  3. Rall
    Feb 06, 2019 @ 17:39:21

    It is a disgrace that hunger and homelessness even exist in our wealthy countries. Volunteers are the unsung heroes of society.


  4. oldegg
    Feb 06, 2019 @ 19:10:42

    I am glad to read that needy do not feel humbled or resentful but are happy to receive the food offered.


  5. Myrna Rosa
    Feb 06, 2019 @ 19:31:43

    I respect and applaud you. I am grateful to you because you feed the hungry. We should all have no tolerance for hunger in this country – rich in stuff but poor in wisdom.


  6. Therisa Godwaldt
    Feb 06, 2019 @ 20:46:56

    Having lived for a period of time, in a homeless shelter, the food is usually donated through Second Harvest, from restaurants and supermarkets. The only problem is, when you have food allergies or your body is intolerance, to what is being served.

    Toni, I thank you, for your generous gift of your time, to making your community, a better place.


    • kanzensakura
      Feb 06, 2019 @ 22:35:21

      You are welcome. This is a food bank and is different from a shelter. As a trained chef I am aware of food allergies and the most common ones. We serve two entrees on a daily basis: one standard and one non standard. There are enough sides (3 usualky) that people can pick ad choose from. We get out food from donations of groceries and restaurants, churches, donated food, and some funds. The food boxes are put together with allergies in mind and diabetes for special needs people. These are fewer in number and are on a first come, first served basis. I think we do a remarkable job with limited resources. People with gardens make donations of fresh fruits and veggies in season. I do this as well out of my garden.

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  7. Marja
    Feb 06, 2019 @ 22:41:15

    Very good I applaud you for that but sad that it has to be that way. I helped with handing out food to the homeless as well only one hour a week. We didn’t used to have that problem here It is only from the last 10 years Greed has overtaken humanity. Send you love and light


  8. Sumana Roy
    Feb 06, 2019 @ 23:40:10

    A great, great job you’re doing Toni. Inspiring. It’s sad that in spite of everything hunger still remains.


    • kanzensakura
      Feb 06, 2019 @ 23:44:18

      Jesus said that we would always have the poor with us. All we can do is try to help each other through hard times. The people at the food bank are wonderful.

      Sent from Mail for Windows 10



  9. Suzanne
    Feb 07, 2019 @ 00:06:32

    Your haibun really bought home the plight of the hungry – especially in the cold of winter. It was a very moving piece of writing.


  10. kim881
    Feb 07, 2019 @ 04:23:23

    A powerful menu haibun. Toni! I admire your generosity and strength, giving your time to cook for and feed the hungry. There shouldn’t be any invisible hungry people in a civilised world but thank goodness for the people who take time to see them and care for them. The haiku packs a punch.


  11. annell4
    Feb 07, 2019 @ 10:26:03

    Yes, the haiku is amazing. You have captured the point, “the hungry cause a chill.”


  12. Panchali
    Feb 07, 2019 @ 14:21:27

    Bravo. Caring about justice is better caught than taught.


  13. purplepeninportland
    Feb 08, 2019 @ 20:58:57

    Thank you for all you do, Toni. Seeing hungry people lining up would make my blood boil.


  14. Frank J. Tassone
    Feb 09, 2019 @ 12:02:40

    Reblogged this on Frank J. Tassone and commented:
    #Haiku Happenings #8: Toni Spencer’s #haibun for #PoetsUnited #MidweekMotif!


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