Monday, May 18, 2009

19th Week Update - Miles Neighborhood Food Collection Project

Hi Folks,

Not An Early Bird
Corina Baca contacted me Thursday and said she was going to present One Can A Week to her Kino Rotary South Tucson Club the next morning at their weekly 7 AM breakfast. I’m not too good in the early hours because my circadian rhythm only starts to rev up as the sun goes down, but I was on time and a bit impassioned. At the end of a few minutes of explanation of our One Can A Week program, Lawrence Linson, the president of the Kino Rotary, invited me back on May 29th so I can make a full presentation. Corina is going to invite the president of the 20 Tucson Rotary Clubs also.

Before the meeting broke up I asked to shoot a couple of photos for our One Can A Week blog and right after I took the first shot I noticed in the view screen in this somewhat light-challenged room that the image with all of the bright colors in the background looked a little like the Last Supper. When I told everyone what I saw laughter scurried around the table. In the photo above which was the next shot, I caught Corina on the left in a delightful chuckle.

Mrs. Green Donates Her Winnings
Since I was a surprise guest, I was chosen to pick the winning 50-50 ticket which was won by the guest speaker Gina Murphy-Darling, otherwise know as Mrs. Green. She has a Saturday 12:05 PM talk show on Newstalk 790 KNST where she discusses ways and means of cleaning up the environment. I would say more but the $8.00 donation just buys so many words in our blog.

More Thursday Good News
John O’Dowd, the president of the Sam Hughes Neighborhood Association and I spoke just after lunch. He said he will put me on the June meeting agenda. I ask him if he needed more information and he said no somewhat definitively. He read the collateral materials and the news articles I sent to him and even visited our One Can A Week blog. I actually thought I heard the word effusive (excessive enthusiasm) tucked away in one of his sentences. That’s really a compliment for a person like me who has authored a score or so of consumer reference books. I just love information.

Another Successful Safeway Saturday
A somewhat disheveled gentleman with a nicely trimmed red speckled beard pushed his shopping cart laden with his personal belongings passed where I was setting up my One Can A Week table near the Safeway west entrance. He stopped, bent down and rummaged through his belonging. When he stood up he walked over to the front of the table and handed me a can of tuna. “Is this okay?” he asked. I was a bit surprised. Should I take it, I thought. He’s homeless, what should I do? Give him a bigger can of tuna or money? I took the can because he was so sincere.

As he walked back to his cart, I did a “boneheaded thing” as our president sometimes says. I was thinking about what a great picture that would make for the blog and so I asked him if I could take his picture. He looked at me with some concern and began mumbling something about the FBI. He said FBI a number of times but it made no sense. I told him to forget it, it was a bad idea. I knew and know better. Photos have another reality when it comes to homeless people.

Cele Peterson, the grand lady of Tucson once told me a story that in her early days, an old woman in well worn clothes entered her shop and none of the sales people wanted to wait on her. Cele greeted the woman and after a time sold this very wealthy stranger, as it turned out, an extensive wardrobe. “Judging people by their appearance is never a good idea,” Cele warned. I thought of Cele and her heiress in disguise when the homeless stranger left me with a can of tuna and the words…”giving to me is giving to somebody else.”

Maybe It Was the Musical Cabriolet
Barry James, a friend of mine and a well know and liked local musician created a CD to play on my new boom box, courtesy of the Go Grant from Quaker Oats. I gave him some suggested tunes, three of his included, that say as much about helping and getting involved in community service as donating food for the needy. For instance, there’s the Eagles’ “Do Something,” Barry James’ “Mother and Child,” and “Food, Glorious Food” from Oliver.

The tuneful Cabriolet was parked in the second space so only those in the first space didn’t walk by the car. But you can believe they saw the red umbrella with the dangling food containers and they heard the music. One gentleman walked up to me and asked if I took donations. “Sure we do,” I replied. He opened his bi-fold wallet and removed a bunch of folded bills from a small brass rod that held them in place. A $20 bill was on top but I didn’t pause for a second look. I didn’t want to embarrass the man or me by counting the money. I quickly put the folded bills in a make shift envelope I had created out of an 8 ½ x 11 piece of paper when I got the first cash donation an hour earlier. That folded piece of paper was getting pretty stuffed.

After he finished his shopping and I saw him drive out of the parking lot, I took a quick look. Holly cow, there were 7 $20 bills. I walked over to the Cabriolet and turned the music up louder.

Making A Real Difference
Even as the temperature hovers around 100 degrees, the generosity of the Miles neighbors is not deterred. We collected 228 lbs. of food which is our second best Sunday thus far. Also, when we add the Safeway cash donations to our own cash donations we ended up with $205.00. So you keep putting out those cans each Sunday—100 degrees or not—and then count on Lenny, Barbara, Kym and me to pick them up as promised. It’s the least we can do to repay you for your commitment to the Community Food Bank.

See you next Sunday.


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