Tuesday, July 7, 2009

26th Week Update - Miles Neighborhood Food Collection Project

Hi Folks,

We just learned that in the past six months we collected enough food to feed 1,131 people three meals in one day. That piece of news was very exciting and exhilarating. It is also a tough act to follow…at least for another six months until the donation results are tabulated in December.

The truth is I spent Monday morning trying to think of other goals we could achieve but finally admitted that we probably have plateaued for awhile. Boy, was I wrong!

An Email from Washington
About 2 pm my email chimed and I saw a message with the subject line: Feeding America advocate story. I open any email that talks about hunger in America and realized it was from Feeding America. “The nation's leading domestic hunger-relief charity" is how they describe themselves on their website. Actually it is a fact, not a description and the Community Food Bank is a member of this important national organization.

My first thought was that this email is another communiqué for Feeding America about some legislation they are supporting and they would like me to get involved by contacting my legislators. I signed up on their website months ago because hunger in America is a key issue for me. This wasn’t the first email I had received from them. http://feedingamerica.org/

The email was from Brett Weisel, Advocacy Manager at Feeding America. I think I’ll let you read the email just as I did so you can react just as I did.

“I wanted to personally thank you for the story you submitted through Feeding America’s Hunger Action Center. We were all very inspired by your efforts to collect food for people in your community. Everyone that I showed your story to was quite moved.

Recently, the President launched the United We Serve campaign, which is an effort to re-energize America’s sense of service and make volunteerism and community service part of every American’s daily lives. Feeding America has been working with the Administration and the Corporation for National and Community Service (they are the government agency that runs AmeriCorps) on this campaign to highlight hunger and those who are taking it upon themselves to do something about it.

Because your story was so inspiring, the Corporation for National and Community Service is interested in highlighting your story as part of the United We Serve initiative. Your story would be posted on the new serve.gov blog and will hopefully inspire others to follow in your footsteps. This is a great opportunity to highlight your efforts to bring hunger relief in your community.

I wanted to make sure that you are comfortable having your story highlighted. If you want, we can make sure that it is anonymous.

Thank you for all that you do and please let me know if you have questions. If you would not like your story to be published on the serve.gov blog, please let me know.

Holy Moly!
I have a more extensive vocabulary than that but that’s all I could think of to say at the time. I know Mr. Weisel wrote to me because I’m the front man on our Miles Neighborhood food donation program and I am the one who submitted our story, but what he was saying is that we as neighbors and a neighborhood are achieving something right now that they, Feeding America and the National and Community Service would like other communities across the country to do; i.e., awaken their commitment to community service.

And I am not just saying that either. I wrote back to tell Mr. Weisel that I will gladly give him permission to use our story in an effort to motivate other neighborhoods. He then replied and said:

“Thank you, Peter. When I forwarded it (the story I submitted to Feeding America) around to folks at Feeding America, everyone was blown away. When I sent it to the Corporation for National and Community Service, there was the same reaction. Let’s keep in touch because I think there are more ways we can highlight your efforts.”

My Story is Our Story
Remember when we first met at your front door, I said that I can’t do my community service if you don’t do your community service first and provide One Can A Week. That’s why this is working so well. This is why it is our story. You can count on me to show up every Sunday, rain or shine, and I know that I can count on you to have your food donation sitting on your porch for me to collect and take to the Community Food Bank on Monday. It is a terrific example of mutual trust just to help people in need. No, it’s a real community doing real community service.

Another Good Beginning
It was the 4th of July holiday weekend this past Sunday. In addition, lots of folks were off enjoying their much deserved summer vacations yet we still collected 134 lbs. of food and $25.00 in cash. What a great way to break into the third quarter.

Back to Safeway
On Saturday, July 18th I will have our One Can A Week table set up at the entrance to the Safeway Supermarket. It may be a bigger event, too. Josh Coldsmith from the Community Food Bank contacted me and said he is looking for a venue for a joint donation drive involving the Community Food Bank and the Humane Society of Tucson. I will speak to Dan the assistant manager tomorrow and if it is not possible there, I will contact other Safeway Supermarkets to set something up for them. By the way, I love pets just as much as I love food…maybe even more.

See you Sunday.


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