Monday, March 1, 2010

60th Week Update - Miles Neighborhood Food Collection Project

Hi Folks,

That’s Why There’s Chocolate … and Vanilla
Terry walked into the Rincon Market, book in hand, and stopped at my table. Generally he and I meet in Himmel Park up the road a piece walking our dogs. He has slow moving beagles and I have sniffing and tugging westies.

He introduced himself to Quinton the gentleman with whom I was speaking when he approached. After a few pleasantries, Terry headed for the coffee bar, the table in the back and a quiet read. On his way out, he stopped by again, dropped a rather large donation on the money plate and we talked.

The subject was his generosity and his lack of desire to act on it. However, if someone came to him he would gladly help with a donation or a can of food for that matter. I suggested that there are millions of Americans just like him. They are wonderful folks but their makeup is such that they don’t have any desire to get involved in things other than what appeals to them. It is perfectly understandable and basically has to do with likes and dislikes, not social insensitivity.

There are those—such as I—who love to help others and those folks—such as my friend Terry— who are glad someone is around to help them with their important, albeit, momentary acts of generosity. I like vanilla. I bet Terry’s favorite flavor is chocolate. Guess I’ll ask him the next time I see him with his beagle buddies.

Bobby Rich Steps Up
As we were getting ready to end our meeting, Bobby said he would begin talking about One Can A Week on Wednesdays about 10 minutes to 8. And that’s exactly what happened. Unfortunately, I set my alarm for 7:47 am and just about the time the fog lifted from my brain it was over. What I did hear was Greg mention that he liked the idea of one can a week and thought it should be introduced into supermarkets so once a week he could donate when he shops. Bobby finished up saying he was going to do a little more research into the project and get back to everyone next Wednesday. A serial One Can A Week, ironic as it may sound, but I think it will garner a lot of interest. Stay tuned.

Set your clock radio to 94.9 Mix FM and alarm for 7:40 am every Wednesday.

Taking Pictures of the Picture Taker
Teresa Filipowicz, a producer for KVOA News 4, sent an email to me requesting an interview for a story on One Can A Week. “This is part of our Making a Difference series,” she wrote, “in which we profile a southern Arizona person or a few people who are doing something to benefit the community, without expecting a monetary or other immediate reward.” Monday morning Jeff Westlake, videographer/reporter (photo on the left, center and right)—with a fancy new and tiny Panasonic digital camera he was testing for the very first time—met me at the Community Food Bank. “It is automatic everything,’ Jeff told me so I’m sure we’ll see what he shot on the 4 pm March 10th air date.

The folks at the Community Food Bank emptied my Cabriolet quickly so there was no food unloading footage for Jeff to take when he arrived on the scene. However, halfway through the shoot Nick Laboriola (photo on the right) showed up. He was delivering his One Can A Week donations so I got him involved. I could make suggestion at the spur of the moment because Jeff was very accommodating and made me feel quite comfortable with directing things a bit. Nick just started collecting in his neighborhood off east Harrison and made a great presentation. He talked about community spirit, community building and community safety. You would have thought he had been following me around for the past 6 months. I was very proud of him.

The one question Jeff persisted with was, “How did One Can A Week make me feel?” I hadn’t been asked that before so my first few attempts to answer him failed to hit the mark. Finally, he said, “and how do you feel about what One Can A Week does for you?” I got it. Since I am an idea person it feels great…no incredible to think of something that solves a problem and really helps people. That’s why I’m sticking and staying, One Can A Week works and can end hunger here in Tucson.

In the Eye of the Beholder
Joella called to me from behind the coffee counter. I had just set up my table for my 3 and one half hour Saturday stint at the Rincon Market. She said there was a food bank donation cup at the food counter cash register and she would get it for me.

The Styrofoam soup cup she handed me was heavy and stuffed with dollar bills and lots of change. My first thought was that this “thing” was so ugly it had to be replaced. The lid with a slit in it needed repair from all of the bills being forced through the opening, not to mention the basic magic marker Food Bank lettering on the side of the cup.

After counting the contents which amounted to $56.37, I came to the realization that those two words, FOOD BANK, needed no introduction and could be scribbled on any collection devise with similar results. So fancy, upscale containers are irrelevant. People are hungry and people, who are not, don’t have to be “sold” to help.

Another Soaking
Just before 11:30 am the rain let up and I hurried. Most of the food cans and boxes were dry and protected by the plastic bags they were in as they hung on gates and door knobs waiting for me to pick them up. This downpour was even stronger than last week’s and still everyone was ready.

On the way home following my last pick up I ran into Kym Fuhrig making the last of her rounds on 13th Street. She tried to wait out the rain but it got too late so in a blue hooded slicker and multicolored polka dot rubber boots she schlepped her wagon through the rain drops. When I pulled up she was smiling and walking through puddles. “Even in the rain, this is fun,” she said.

We collected 260 lbs. this week which included 94 lbs. of oranges, lemons and grapefruit and 36 lbs. of food from the Axis Food Mart. Also we had a $17 cash donation.

See you Sunday,


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