Board member Brandon Mercer wrote this poem for GRIP’s annual meeting in 2024, reflecting on what GRIP’s work can mean for a person facing hunger and homelessness.


The evening fog cuts like a knife,
Icy droplets slowly bleed away life
Huddled under a tarp to conserve heat
Blood getting colder with each heartbeat
A stabbing hunger, worse than shivering in the cold and dark
The remedy? A place of warmth, love and a spark
Of joy
An employee
Hands out coffee, some fruit,
a sandwich, then soup
Yes! Soup
Hot, satisfying, and salty. It is survival.
On a cold day there is no rival
The revival
From a hot meal, with soup, cures more than hunger
It warms the hands
It empowers the soul. It demands
Don’t spill this golden treasure
The pleasure
of a dry chair at a wooden table
A brief moment that is stable
Sitting like a human being, not lying on a bench
The stench
of the street
Overpowered by the smell of chicken and sausage and peppers and celery and carrot and onion
The mirapoix
is a miracle
Not just of culinary delight
It’s a beacon in the night
A lighthouse of human kindness
People choose every day to come serve this soup
To those society has forgotten
Whose names are not written
Whose bowls were not full
Whose hands were shivering and icy
This soup is an elixir
A mixer
of ingredients and recipients
Made with love
all, kindness
Uniting people of all kinds
Together one group
Sharing this one pot
Of soup

–Brandon M. Mercer, from a collection of poems about life in the Bay Area