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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