Monday, June 8, 2009

22nd Week Update - Miles Neighborhood Food Collection Project

Hi Folks,

The Tortoise Always Wins
On June 16th I am meeting with the Sam Hughes Neighborhood Association and I’m thinking about ways to excite and engage them in One Can A Week. I need to find a couple of people who don’t mind a little selfless commitment. Unfortunately, the physical image below is what puts a crimp in the conversation. Of course it’s solitary work, but helping your neighbors help the Community Food Bank is a feeling that is really hard to describe. Also, I like the responsibility and people counting on me. Maybe I could tell them that their arms will get a lot stronger. Or they’ll drink a lot more water. Or it’s only 3 ½ hours of work on Sunday. Or some people in trouble won’t be hungry and afraid. I’ll think of something, after all, I have all of you to point to as a wonderful example of making a difference. (Photo by Neto Portillo)

Safeway Karma
Since most of the food contributions occurred between 1:30 and 3:00 pm I decided to change my start hour from 11:30 am to 1 pm and go to 4. Well, that threw off the whole karma thing.

Lots of people moved in and out of Safeway and the parking lots was very busy but customers only shopped for a few minutes and left with just a couple of bags. By 3 pm I had only a dozen cans or so in the collection box. And surprisingly, no one stopped to just chat. On prior Saturdays I had at least 3 or 4 people strike up a conversation.

On the other side of the entrance, the lemonade stand and the hot dog and tortilla stand were both collecting donations for Prostate Cancer and they were not fairing well either. I could understand why the hot dog and tortilla stand did very little business because don’t hot dogs cause prostate cancer? It was just a thought.

Also the wind blew constantly. So much so I could not put up the umbrella on the Cabriolet. Then about 2:30 pm the store manager, Bill—not Dan, he’s the assistant manager I found out—came over to me and said a bit awkwardly that he wanted me to take a month break. He added that the Prostate Cancer campaign was their major push right now and they wanted to focus on that.

My New York Lesson
Every time I got a no on one of my publishing projects I would call someone right away and get another appointment. I don’t like to dwell on the negative. I guess what helped me arrive at this realization was my dad. Once after I experienced a particularly painful failure he told me if it were easy, anybody could do it.

About 4 years into my authoring career I had a list of 32 book ideas that were all turned down in a very short period of time. Instead of sitting around with that sinking “why me” feeling, I called someone to move things forward. In a few months I placed maybe 15 of the 32 books at other publishers.

So after lunch on Monday I walked into Bashas’ on Kolb and Sunrise and made a presentation to set up One Can A Week next Saturday. Tom, the Floor Supervisor—assistant manager in other supermarkets—said the corporate offices make such decisions and he will get back to me soon. It it’s a no; I know where I’m going next.

Summer Sums
This week we collected 156 lbs. of food including lots of huge cereal boxes. This is down a bit from the previous weeks but we also collected $57. That’s up a bit from the previous weeks.

I have an idea summer vacations are effecting the collections but many of our neighbors are planning ahead and giving us cash donations or boxes of food. No matter, we are doing just fine because our neighbors are thinking Community Food Bank whether they are in town or not.

Tucson Roller Derby Fun
Barbara on Miles who is a member of a Roller Derby team and her son PJ invited me to the Tucson Sports Center at 1065 W. Grant this Saturday, June 13th at 6 pm. They want me to set up my One Can A Week table and collect a whole bunch of food. PJ and his mom made the arrangements weeks ago and told all of the players and fans to bring food donations for the Community Food Bank. I have never seen a Roller Derby live but after Saturday I can’t say that anymore. PJ who is 12 years old is setting up his own One Can A Week food collection boxes in a few downtown Tucson businesses. If you want to join us, just bring a can of food to the Tucson Sports Center, and please, watch out for the flying elbows. (Photo from

See you next Sunday.


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