Monday, October 18, 2010

93rd Week Update - Miles Neighborhood Food Collection Project

Hi Folks,

Nice as They Say
In separate conversations, both Pauline Hechler, VP of Development, The Community Food Bank and Bobby Rich, 94.9 FM Morning Mix, mentioned how pleasant it was to work with the folks at the Sunflower Market. I was asking Pauline and Bobby about feeding kids at schools and the Sunflower Market worked its way into both discussions.

Thirty stores in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico,
Texas and Utah.

It took me a few months to figure out how to write a proposal I could present to the management of the Sunflower Market. I’m looking for a way to grow the One Can A Week neighborhood food collection program by going directly to the food source…the supermarkets.

Pauline and Bobby were right. The moment I met Richard Rodriguez, the Speedway store director, I liked him. He was in a conversation with two of his staff near a bin in the vegetable department and turned to me as I walked up. He stopped talking to his staff and asked if he could help me. It was one of those rare moments in cold calling where the person you want to speak to is ending a conversation and is willing to begin another with you.

The Sunflower Market was founded in 2002 by Mike Gilliland—who earlier in his career—co-founded the Wild Oats Markets. As stated on the Sunflower Market’s web site, “…since its inception...”Mike and his “…employees recognized the connection between community and business.”

When I mentioned One Can A Week is a unique, capitalistic charity idea that benefits the supermarket, the consumer and The Community Food Bank, Richard’s interest was piqued. He also liked the fact that One Can A Week is in the public domain—meaning free—and it can fit into his normal marketing plans at no additional cost.

Richard made sure he had my contact information before I left. He said he would talk it over with his management team and get back to me.

And he will do both. That is for sure.

It’s a Philosophy
Last Friday I got an email from Tina Gillette. “… I have three kids, ages 15, 13 and 11. I found out about your wonderful program on MixFM a while back, and would like to start my kids up in our neighborhood in Oro Valley.

Picking up Otto’s Weekly Donation – This Sunday Otto
Sanchez on E. 12th Street was home so he got to meet
the entire Gillette Family. Mom and Dad (Tina and Darrell)
are in the background. In front (left) are Carlie, Chandler
and Cameron holding the can.
‘However before doing so, I would very much like to speak with you briefly about the program regarding time commitment on the part of the kids, etc. “

On Sunday the whole Gillette Family showed up to help me collect the food here in Miles and the first thing I noticed was the strength and character of their children’s names. It is obvious these folks want to fortify their children for the rigors of adulthood. And a good name is always the best place to start.

Tina and Darrell want to teach their children that helping others is the best way to help themselves succeed in life. Universities are looking for young leaders who took on the responsibility of helping others early and performed consistently throughout their secondary schooling.

Cameron is the lead on One Can A Week so he rode with me in the Cabriolet while his folks and siblings followed us in the SUV. We had a chance to talk about accepting responsibility as a kid and what it means to help people in trouble. I told him One Can a Week is a philosophy not a program. He said he knew and that is why he wanted to start his own initiative in his neighborhood. He was even thinking ahead to those friends who he might be able to convince to join him. I suggested he just do the work and they will follow in time…some sooner than others but they will join him.

Yes, our country is in trouble and Cameron knows what he is up against, but he does not find an uncertain future daunting because his folks know what it takes to fight the good fight. And they are not shy about letting their kids in on the strategy.

The Recession of the Heart is Over
At least that’s what it felt like at the Rincon Market on Saturday. Moments after setting up the table, Ron Abbott, the owner of the Rincon Market handed me a very large and pudgy bank pouch. He said he had to empty the magic Styrofoam cup three times during the week. The donation amount was so large that it took me nearly the whole time I was there on Saturday to count the money and wrap the coins.

As we thought, it turned out to be a record. We collected $233.97 in cash donations and 18 lbs. in food. The highest total donation amount prior to last Saturday was $180.04 on September 27th.

Missed One
For some reason I walked right by my friend Al Shoemaker’s home and forgot to pick up his donation that he hides in a small, unplugged refrigerator near his front door. After some thought I still have no idea why I forgot. But a few hours later Al called me to find out if I were “sick or something.” I walked right over to his home and picked up his donation thinking along the way that everybody needs a friend like Al … just in case something really does go wrong.

We collected a total of 390 lbs. of food, including 222 pounds of produce. The money we donated amounted to $83.55 … $55.00 in checks and $28.55 in cash. The Axis Food Mart was responsible for 204 lbs. of that produce figure above.

See you Sunday.


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