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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Groceries - deadline 8-23-12 10 am NY time (08/16/12)

TITLE: The Plan
By Laura Manley


Margaret pulled up in front of the small grocery store and pulled the key out of the ignition. The sign above the door read WILLARD’S NEIGHBORHOOD GROCER. She adjusted her glasses and looked at her reflection in the rearview mirror. The years had been good to her with few wrinkles to dispute her claim.

Margaret walked in and casually made her way around the store. It was a quaint little store where everybody seemed to know everyone else. And if they didn’t, it appeared they probably did before leaving the store.

A little area of the grocery store was set aside for drinks of one sort or another and she ambled her way to one of the tables. For a few moments, Margaret sat absorbing all that was going on around her. A teenage boy was stocking shelves while a middle-aged woman, maybe in her fifties, stood behind the cash register.

Margaret’s eyes shot quickly around the parameters of the store. She guessed the store was so populated that morning because the owners were having a grand opening. She downed her coffee over a period of minutes. She picked up her handbag and walked slowly through the store. A cart she pushed gave her legitimacy.

Margaret sashayed up one aisle and down another observing the carefully placed items on each shelf. Everything seemed to be in such neat order; in her mind, she knew this would be the place. Now all she had to do was convince the owner of the same thing.

Several weeks went by and each one found Margaret perusing the shelves of Willard’s Neighborhood Grocer. There wasn’t a time she entered that she wasn’t met with friendly, and now familiar faces. Her work was going to be cut out for her, but she was sure of one thing… Willard’s was a thriving grocery store and it met every need she and her foundation needed to be a success.

Margaret never entered the grocery store without purchasing something. She would stroll toward the back of the store where the produce abounded. She would pick and choose from the abundance of fruits and vegetables displayed.

Finally, she was ready to speak to the owner of the store. As she walked up to the front of the grocery store one morning, she spotted Mr. Willard inside having a cup of coffee. After the gentleman who sat with him left, Margaret made her way back to talk to him.

“Good morning, Mr. Willard. May I join you?”

“Of course, Margaret; do sit down.” H quickly stood to pull out a chair for her. Once Margaret was seated, they talked in generalities. Margaret finally maneuvered the conversation around to her purpose for being there that morning.

“Mr. Willard, your business seems to be quite successful,” she said as yet another customer left with an armful of groceries. “I have something to propose to you that I think would give your store an even greater following.”
Mr. Willard scooted up his chair so as not to miss a word Margaret was saying. “What might that be, Margaret?”

“Well, as you know, Mr. Willard, throughout our county we have a number of homeless people who obviously are not eating well. What if you gave to those homeless people the fruits and vegetables, breads and whatever else was not sellable in your store at the end of each day? And because of your generosity, what if I featured you on my radio program each week? My goal is not only to get your assistance, but to make our community aware of the plight of these people. Together, we could plea our case for them and obtain volunteers to assist you and your staff to prepare for the food to go out of here and into the hands of the homeless.”

Margaret realized she had monopolized the conversation and sat back folding her hands in her lap as if she was giving permission to Mr. Willard to speak.”

Mr. Willard sat with a smile on his face that left Margaret wondering the thoughts behind it. “I couldn’t agree with you more, Margaret. I think that’s a wonderful idea. The food we have to throw away on a regular basis COULD go to these people. I would be honored to be a part of your plan.”

Over the next few weeks, Mr. Willard and Margaret put their plan into action and not only provided food to the homeless, but more business to Mr. Willard’s Neighborhood Grocer.

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This article has been read 385 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 08/23/12
They were both blessed from their actions! Beautiful story and a fabulous idea, if only more places did this, it would help thousands.

Great job with a powerful message. Thanks.

God bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/23/12
This is a great story. You did a wonderful job of building the suspense. At first I thought maybe Margaret was a shoplifter. This brought tears to my eyes. Nineteen years ago today my mom died and I miss her so much. One of her legacies was "The Bread Program" that she started almost 30 years ago. it took a lot of convincing on her part but she finally talked the local stores into donating their day old baked goods. I can't even begin to imagine how many people have been blessed by Mom's little idea. Thank you for giving me a chance to realize that though Mom is gone her good deed lives on and benefits so many.
Nancy Bucca08/24/12
Three cheers for this plan to feed the homeless. I like the way your MC "stakes out" the store before deciding to speak to the manager. Very clever and creative.
Danielle King 08/25/12
I also thought Margaret was a shoplifter so was pleasantly surprised that she turned out to be an inspirational character. If only there were more people like Margaret. A good read with an element of suspense. Good job!
Allison Egley 08/25/12
I love this story.

I feel like you had to rush the ending just a bit. I think you could have probably cut some of the "shopping" bit out, and shown that she got to know every in the story a different way. Then you could have spent more time focusing on the new ministry.

Nice job on this. I enjoyed it.
Genia Gilbert08/25/12
Good job on this entry. You kept the interest up throughout, and had an uplifting ending.
lynn gipson 08/26/12
YES! Now this is my kind of story and it is wonderful! (You really should think about moving up) Loved the story, the meaning,the writing, loved everything.

God Bless!
lynn gipson 08/26/12
YES! Now this is my kind of story and it is wonderful! (You really should think about moving up) Loved the story, the meaning,the writing, loved everything.

God Bless!
Myrna Noyes08/26/12
Enjoyed the element of mystery in this story! It kept me eager to go on reading! The ending was inspiring and offered us a "challenge" in a way to find creative means of helping those in need.
Vicki J. Cypcar08/28/12
Your story is very original and I enjoyed it very much. Great job!
Debbie Roome 08/29/12
Well written and a good message.
Julie Andre 08/29/12
Very endearing story. It made my heart smile.