Monday, August 24, 2009

33rd Week Update - Miles Neighborhood Food Collection Project

Hi Folks

A Little Help from a Little Neighbor
On Friday night Erin, my next door neighbor stopped me to ask if her 12-year-old son Bobby could help me with my One Can A Week food collections on Sunday. I said sure because I remembered how PJ, another 12-year-old neighbor did with his roller derby idea. We netted over 340 lbs of food on that one.

Of course, being 12, Bobby isn’t as familiar with punctuality as he will be later in life. After a minute or three wait, he jumped into the Cabriolet passenger seat and off we drove. He had just awakened so it took the first five pick ups to get the cobwebs out of his brain. Like the Tohono O'odham elders, I waited for Bobby to ask to do something before offering to give him a task to manage. This is a good teaching technique because the young are ready to learn when they demonstrate a willingness to participate.

Bobby collected the food on the porches and I placed the Thank You cards. Nice division of labor but I got the better half. Soon he was drinking more water and mopping his brow. The collections were good this Sunday and quite heavy. So right after meeting Barbara and Lenny and picking up their 12th Street collections we headed off to lunch at McDonald’s…my treat. After all we—or rather Bobby—had been working in the hot sun for nearly an hour.

Lucky Bobby
In 45 minutes we were back on the road—I’m the slow eater, not Bobby—and right after our first stop things…unusual things began to happen. A gentleman walked up to the Cabriolet and handed me a large can and said he and his family wanted to participate in the Miles Neighborhood donation program.

Unusual thing #2
For about three months now I have been trying to meet up with a neighbor on Warren Street who told me he wanted to participate one Saturday when I was collecting food at Safeway. But he was never home the three or four time I stopped by. Also, I have to admit I simply forgot to go to his house a number of times. I remembered this Sunday but only after I drove two blocks out of the way. We turned around and pulled up to the curb in front of his home which sits at least 50 feet from the chain link gate. Again, it looked like no one was home but Bobby and I walked down his long, flower pot lined sidewalk anyway and knocked on the door. It opened immediately and there was my neighbor food in hand. Amazing!

Unusual thing #3
The last leg of our route is down Vine Street toward Manlove Street. However, just before we get to Manlove we stop at two houses. One is the home of a lovely lady who always has food ready for us. The other is directly across the street and more often than not no one is home. This time a gentleman golfer—a fact announced by one of those small clever wooden signs hanging from the screen— answered the door. He told me it would be better if I stopped by on Saturday to get his donation because his family was seldom home on Sundays. That’s three new participants. I’m a little mystified.

Unusual thing #4
We’re back in the Cabriolet and as I start the car I see a man on the far side of the Arroyo Chico Apartment parking lot wave to us. He is standing with his wife in front of his apartment and the door behind him is partially ajar. We drive over and both Bobby and I greet the couple.

About an hour earlier I was telling Bobby that I only have one Arroyo Chico neighbor who participates in One Can A Week and I can’t figure out how to get others involved. I’ve spoken to the management and they put up a sign in the laundry room but there were no takers. Bobby said he has several friends who live there and he will gladly talk to them to see if he can do something. But now suddenly we have the across-the-parking-lot Summoners. Actually, these fine folks who got our attention are named Eric and Nicole. They want to help One Can A Week and will gladly canvas the whole apartment complex to get their neighbors involved in donating to the Community Food Bank and community service.

This certainly was another great Sunday.

Our Miles Neighborhood Average Isn’t So Average
In the first quarter our weekly average was 116 lbs. In the second quarter our weekly average came to 231 lbs. We have 8 weeks into the summer quarter where many people take vacations and our weekly average is still a very respectable 156 lbs. And that’s exactly the tally for this week plus $2.00 in cash.

Rotary Club Update
Both the Old Pueblo and Kino Rotary Clubs are now making weekly donations to the Community Food Bank and on Wednesday, I am talking to the Casas Adobes Rotary Club at the La Paloma Country Club. Only 19 more to go.

See you Sunday.


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