Monday, June 7, 2010

74th Week Update - Miles Neighborhood Food Collection Project

Hi Folks,
Eva Guthrie who lived on 12th Street, died quietly June 1, 2010. She was 94-years-old. Link to Arizona Daily Star / Tucson Citizen obituary at

Great Job, Eva
Two homeless guys walking behind my Cabriolet on 12th Street were making some loud comments about the large burgundy umbrella. “What are you selling, mister?” one shouted. By the time they caught up to me I was out of the car and lifting a can in a plastic bag off my neighbor’s fence. They both read the sign on the side of the car and simultaneously gave me the “thumbs up” gesture as they continued on their journey.

Generally, there is very little activity around the homes across from the Red Cross bus entrance. Besides the curious drinking buddies, a young man from next door walked up to me and he too, liked my tricked out Cabriolet. I told him about our mission in the neighborhood and he said he was just there for a day clearing out his grandmother’s home who recently died. He asked me if I could take all of the food his grandmother left.

When I walked through the front door I saw people and stuff everywhere. Kids, grand kids and great, great grand kids were busy looking at something and then placing it in a box. I stayed by the door and a couple of the young gentlemen started emptying the cabinets in the kitchen. I had to make many trips to the car to empty my satchel. “What’s the most food you ever got from one person in the Miles neighborhood?” Steve Eppley asked. (Click on the link to Eva’s obituary to discern all of the family names.). I thought a moment qualifying one person and one home, not an event collection. “This is it,” I replied.

A broad grin took over Steven’s face. And if Eva were looking down on this scene, she’d most definitely be smiling, too. She raised three generations of some very caring folks.

The Official Launch of Bobby’s Buddies
The first meeting was more of a meet and greet that lasted over an hour and a half. Bobby made the point that he started Bobby’s Buddies to encourage neighbors around Tucson to help their neighbors help with community service. He does not want to tell anyone what to do but once people decide on a course of action, he will help get and keep the ball rolling, including collateral material design and incentive rewards for volunteers.

Bobby then opened up the floor for discussion and the ideas flowed like water. Ronni thought graffiti abatement was needed and offered to help other neighborhoods attack the problem as her Palo Verde Neighborhood has. Colleen is thinking about creating a cat food collection program for the Hermitage which is always in need of sustenance for the many kitties it shelters.

Dennis and Nancee want to create a program that brings more attention to eating right and weight control. With over 600 volunteers to manage, Diane and Sandi are considering ways to provide incentives and encouragement to their people through the Bobby’s Buddies program.

Bobby closed the meeting with a promise to get back together in a few weeks to begin implementation of the many ideas discussed and then he took folks on a much appreciated tour of the MIXfm studios.

Bobby Rich (center), in the large Journal Broadcasting conference room, listens to Kristen Grabo (right), Executive Director of the Southern Arizona Diaper Bank. Also seated at the conference table are: Diane Luber (right), Development Manager, Interfaith Community Services (ICS); Ronni Kotwica (left near Bobby) President, Palo Verde Neighborhood Association; and Dennis Melin (left) and his wife Nancee. Not show but also in attendance: Colleen McHugh, Ferinl Malaika; Sandi Brickley, Volunteer Resources Manager, Interfaith Community Services (ICS) and yours truly who took this average photo.

A Good Foundation
After Eva Guthrie’s family donation went into the basket, (see photo on right) the rest of the Miles collection followed on top nearly over flowing the sides. The combined donations totaled 186 lbs. plus $16 in cash. When we add the 4 lbs. from the Axis Food Mart we reached the 190 lb. mark.

A Personal Best
Eva Guthrie and her family on 12th Street donated more than 40 lbs. of food Sunday. This is the most food one household has personally given to One Can A Week since we began collecting food for the Community Food Bank nearly a year and a half ago.

See you Sunday,


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