Monday, May 11, 2009

18th Week Update - Miles Neighborhood Food Collection Project

Hi Folks,

The Power of the Community Food Bank Name
When I first introduced One Can A Week to the Miles Neighborhood, the one comment that got the most response in my presentation was’ “I’m collecting food for the Community Food Bank.” Doors popped open and people had lots of positive things to say about the organization. The Community Food Bank has built an incredible reputation in our community where just saying their name gets people’s undivided attention.

So when Pauline Hechler, Vice President of Development at the Community Food Bank sent me an email saying I could use the Community Food Bank logo in our literature and on our blog, I was a bit speechless. And it takes something profound to do that to me. I’m a little like Joe Biden…lots of thing to say…but without the gaffes, of course.

Check out our One Can A Week blog to see how we proudly display the Community Food Bank logo.

Going with the Flow at Safeway
Normally I create best case marketing strategies when planning an event so on Saturday when I drove up to Safeway I was hoping that one of the front parking spaces near the West Entrance would be open. My patio umbrella Cabriolet attracts a lot of attention and comments.

One was open and I did not have to out jockey a Safeway customer to get it. Perfect. As I entered the store there were several pallets of bottled water where I usually set up. A local girls’ choir had a table on the other side of the automatic doors and they were selling chocolates. I thought they should be offering something like lemon drops or tea with honey. Those products are more appropriate for voice things.

Dan, my normal manager contact was off and the fellow running the show was also running a cash register. The young lady behind the customer service counter called him on the phone even though he was maybe 30 feet in front of her. He had no idea where I should go so she said I should use the East Entrance.

My car was maybe 30 yards away from the East Entrance, but more important, the East Entrance doesn’t get the traffic the West Entrance does. Then there are the homeless folks who like to sit at the cafĂ© tables because it’s shady and Safeway is a very friendly supermarket.

As I wrote in an earlier post, I’m handling myself differently when it comes to One Can A Week. I said, “Oh, well,” or something like that and then moved my car to the other end of this very large parking lot. You could still see my car but it was in the very last row and four parking slots in from the drive in front of the store. Not great!

As I thought I might, I did have an extended conversation with a gentleman who said he was homeless but vigorously defended his cell phone on his hip and the gold and silver looking chains around his neck. He asked for two of my business cards which I gave him but suggested he not get in trouble because he was carrying my cards. He promised he wouldn’t.

Not Such a Bad Spot After All
Nothing much happened in the first hour but then Corian showed up. She is a member of the Kino Rotary Club and after a 5 minute conversation she decided that One Can A Week would be a great program to introduce to the 20 or so Rotary Clubs around Tucson. They meet every week and each member could bring at least one can a week. She said she would get back to me and set up a time for me to speak to her club.

Then I met a gentleman who will begin collecting food in his neighborhood. He’s from Montana and used to go to the supermarkets in his town to collect food for the local food bank. He liked the idea of approaching his neighbors because he said the best way to collect food for hungry folks is to go get it.

The Post Office Stole Some of Our Thunder
We collected 190 lbs of food Sunday which is 57 lbs. short of our average but I’m not at all disappointed. Most Miles neighbors gave to both food drives which is very commendable. People are in need and my Miles neighbors are really digging deep to help.

The Check Was in The Mail
On Tuesday I received a letter from Quaker Oats asking me to sign a release form and telling me at the same time that the $500 grant check was in the mail. It arrived Saturday and what a unique experience. I was coming back from Safeway and had my camera in the car. Some of the money will go for signage for the Cabriolet and volunteer carts so I decided to photograph it right there. In my New York publishing career I have gotten lots of big and important checks, but this little check is really different. Its purpose is to help others and I’m just a conduit. I like that!

See you Sunday.


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