Monday, December 7, 2009

48th Week Update - Miles Neighborhood Food Collection Project

Hi Folks,

Moving On Up
Brian Simpson is in our news again. Remember, he’s the Director of Communications at the Association of Arizona Food Banks in Phoenix. Just today he sent me an email saying, “Good news! Mark…(B. Evans the editor of…wants you to email him to work out the details, but transitioning your blog to is yours for the taking!” That’s not good news…that’s great news.

On the home page they say “Their goal is to provide a Web site that gives voice to people who want to inform their community about issues that might not attract the attention of the daily newspaper or TV news and to provide their fellow citizens different points of view about the issues of the day that differ from that of the dominant editorial voice in the city – the Arizona Daily Star.”

Best of all the blog has a Google PageRank of 6 which means a lot of folks check out the blog every day. has readers, too, but not so many. Sometimes it just a folk or maybe two a day.

This move to will really help us tell our story to a wider audience and shows that we are serious about ending hunger here in Tucson. We can do it. All we have to do is stick and stay because One Can A Week has a bit of magic as I have said before. You give a weekly food donation. I collect your donation. And good things happen to move us forward. It never ceases to make me blink in wonder.

The Rodney Williams’ Saturday Night Live Access Show
Early last week Brian Simpson, Director of Communications at the Association of Arizona Food Banks in Phoenix put me in touch with Rodney who has an hour TV show on Access Tucson that airs at 9 pm every Saturday. He calls his show “Face it, It’s Over, Rodney Williams Dismantling the Myth of Racism.” I spent the next few days trying to see how One Can A Week would fit into the format.

To my surprise, quite easily because Rodney is charming and erudite. He opens the show talking about the demise of racism and then spends the rest of the time featuring musical talent, community concerns and community projects. My 15 minutes in the studio lights worked out well except for the stumble when I was introduced. Rodney said I was there to talk about ending poverty in Tucson through the One Can A Week program. My first thought was “now how the heck was I going to do that?” But than I smiled and got us quickly back on track.

When I returned home I check Google Analytics and saw that a couple of people visited our One Can A Week web site that day. Who says no one watches Access Cable TV?

Learning the Ropes
On Sunday Lori and Dennis Trujillo from 13th Street joined Barbara and Lenny on 12th Street to see what it is really like to collect One Can A Week from the neighbors. They thought it fun and really easy so they spent a number of minutes discussing the cost and the whereabouts of the white shopping carts. Lenny turned out to be quite knowledgeable on the subject encouraging Lori and Dennis to head to Big Lots! because they will pay just $9 for each cart. “Some stores charge up to $20 for these carts, “Lenny said, “so Big Lots! is the answer.” I can tell you this, the next time I have some unusual item I have to buy, I’m going to pass it by Lenny first, that’s for sure.

A Finger Licking Good Idea
At the Miles Neighborhood Fun Day Sunday the event organizer Josie Zapata shows a young neighbor how to coat a pine cone with peanut butter and then roll it around in bird seed before hanging it on a tree in the yard. The little guy spread as much peanut butter on his fingers as the pine cone just to make sure he had the proper peanut butter to bird seed ratio called for by the design.

Even the Troubled Think of the Needy
December 1st Lisa Marie on Cherry Avenue sent me an email telling me some sad news about one of our neighborhood businesses. This is what she wrote:
“First off, thanks for continuing to do such wonderful work. I feel good every time I can provide a can or make it so easy to contribute.
“Secondly: I was just at Axis Market and was devastated to hear that they will be closing their doors permanently this weekend over a lease agreement dispute. I mentioned to the owner that you have created a strong community organization that collects food for the Food Bank and suggested any items in the store he can't sell/redistribute might be donated to the Food Bank in the Miles Neighborhood name. I'm willing to pick-up any left-over food goods from Axis on Friday, and hold them at my home until Sunday's pick-up, but you might want to stop by to reinforce the idea ;)…“

I did stop by to introduce myself to the Axis people and learned that their monthly rent was increased $700 so they had to close. On Sunday Kym called me to say she was at Lisa Marie’s home and there was a lot of food but no one answered the door. Kym did not know if she should take it. I told her it was okay and explained why.

The container the Axis Market gave us was huge and brimming with food. Based on our weekly average I was able to determine just how much they donated. This week’s total was 210 lbs. of food, 1 lb. of a non food item and $8 in cash. Since our food donation averages around 162 lbs., we can assume the Axis Market gave the Community Food Bank 48 lbs. of food. I am happy for the donation but sorry to see our friends go. I always thought it interesting that people had feelings for Axis and talked about their good experience there, but never said a word about the Circle K just across the street which provides a similar service. No matter where the Axis Market owner goes I hope he realizes he made a difference in our Miles Neighborhood.

See you Sunday,


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