Social Justice Poetry

food insecurity poems

New Reality | A Social Justice Poem by Guy Farmer

In a ramshackle trailer park,
A family of five inhabits
An ancient Airstream
On a cold, rainy day,
Wearing winter coats indoors
To keep barely warm, a tiny
Space heater rattles hopelessly.

Rent is due in a couple
Of days and Mark is out
Looking for any kind of
Employment, Susan has to
Stay home with the kids;
Child care costing more than
Any minimum wage job affords.

The holidays are near and
There’s no money for gifts,
Or anything to eat,
A trip to the local food pantry
An embarrassing new reality,
They reminisce about their vacation
Last year before the layoffs.

An Urban Legend Confirmed | A Social Justice Poem by Donal Mahoney

It was nearly midnight and I was driving home after a long day when I realized there was no cat food in the house and I would be facing the same trio of feral cats bright and early at the back door that I face every morning, hungrier than ever.

The cats are fond of my wife but I’m the one who feeds them because
I get up so early. So I stopped at the all-night mega-grocery store
and headed for the pet food section.

Not a can of cat food in sight.

I asked the night manager, “What happened? Did you have a sale?”

“No, not at all. This happens every time we get near the end of the
month,” he said.

“Old folks buy the cat food. Most of them come in late at night
because they’re embarrassed. It’s my shift so I get to know a lot
of them.

“They run out of money waiting for next month’s check to come. They buy cans of cat food and make their own version of tuna casserole.

“One elderly lady offered to sell me her recipe for five bucks. I wish now I had bought it. She needed the money,”

I had heard for decades that old folks eat cat food when they run out of money but I thought it was an urban legend. Now, at least in this store, not located in a poor neighborhood, that urban legend has been confirmed as fact.

I asked the manager for a favor.

“The next time you see that lady, tell her you have someone who
wants to buy her recipe for twenty bucks. Here’s the money. Here’s
my number. Call me and I’ll come and get it and give you an extra
ten for your trouble.

“I know a couple of folks I want to give it to. One of them will be
the next president of the United States and this might make a nice
entree at the Inauguration banquet. Both candidates are senior
citizens but I bet neither has ever sat down to a meal like this.”

He laughed a bit but said he’d do it. I hope he does.

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