Maen, my friend and owner of the Axis Food Mart has been talking to his three beautiful children, Petra, 13, Rayah, 11 and Michael, 7 about community service, The Community Food Bank and One Can A Week. However, based on their response, he could have also been talking to a brick wall. Then something magical happened. Their school, the St Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic School is requiring their students to participate in 6 hours of community service. “Sign this,’ Maen said sliding a pen and piece of paper across the counter to me. “This Sunday and next Sunday you have two helpers, Petra, Rayah and Michale.” I just love the way my friend and I decide things together.
His plan was always to get his children involved in community service but now the school requires it so they go along willingly. (Amazing how the words require and willingly in the same sentence work for a school and not a parent.) The kids, and their mother, Seham, are already planning to continue the One Can A Week experience in their gated community of 160 homes. This will happen as soon as I can get the collateral materials to them.
In the meantime, they are meeting their Miles neighbors and learning that community service can be helpful and a whole lot of fun, too.
This Is Not Disneyland?
Since Rayah saw the funny car with the funny umbrella, she decided she could drive just like in Disneyland. That bit of cleverness gave me a clue that this short road trip would really be a trip.
Their Very First Customer
Although Andrew, my next door neighbor, is nearly twice as tall at Rayah, neither she nor her sister had a problem speaking right up…in kind of a shy spunky way. They both thanked him a couple of time for his donation.
"I Got Spooked"
You can see Rayah in her pink top in the door’s reflection looking on cautiously. One second ago she was standing next to Petra putting the “Thank You Card” on the door handle. That was when the cat’s tail brushed against her leg and she bolted.
The First Man to Say Yes to One Can A Week
Before we arrived at Ed’s home, I told Petra and Rayah the story of how I met him and that he was the first neighbor I talked to about starting One Can A Week. They found him just as easy to talk to as I did that day back in late 2008.
Thirteenth Street Collector
Lenny, along with Barbara who lives across the street and was at church by then, collect the food on their block. I told Petra and Rayah that if they worked week after week collecting food, neighbors would eventually step up to help.
I asked who likes photography and Rayah spoke up. My idea was to have her take a picture of Lenny and me and the person who doesn’t like photography. She did a great job until I said that.
Give Me That CameraLenny hasn’t seen this yet but he will and I will hear about it next Sunday. But fortunately Rayah will be with me again and Lenny is such a gentleman.
Petting the Pups
There’s another Westie who is off to the side barking because he does that with strangers in his home. But only the first time he meets you. Petra and Rayha are like that, too. They are cautions about meeting pets but Molly proved to be the exception. They gave her quite a few pets and later asked when they could see her again.
Not So Hard Being Charitable
We started at 11:30 am and it is now about 12:20 pm. Time for lunch at their dad’s store. Their little brother, Michael joined in the face-stuffing. The hamburgers were In and Out, Maen’s favorite.
Instructing a New Photographer
I wanted a photo with the guys and the photographer couldn’t wait until I finished my directions. Not using him again either.
That Much Fun Has to be Shared
Michael who is only seven has as much animation as a 50-year-old Bugs Bunny cartoon. And it was on display most of the time. He amuses me because he talks like Bugs with one clever remark after another but his words come out sounding like Elmer Fudd. How funny…and how could I not say yes when he asked to come along for the ride.
You’d Think They Were Related to the Barrymores
“Hold it,” I said. “Turn around and look at me.” I shot the photo so fast I did not see the results until I uploaded the files from the flash drive. They were really into what they were doing and posing, too, for sure.
Meeting the Ward V Councilman
As we approached Richard and Mary Frimbres’ home, they drove up into their driveway and got out of their SUV. What luck! I had time to tell my crew who he is and what he does. They were perfect kids standing there quietly while I told Richard how their dad eliminated much of the homeless problem around his store, Circle K and drunks sleeping in the alleys. I then suggested a photo and by the looks of Michael, he’s still promoting his dad’s good works in happy song and dance. “He did it. Yeah, Yeah, He did it.”
Caught in the Act
Michael arrived first at the dollar on the marble slab next to the pumpkin. This gave him time to think while his sisters focused on placing the quarterly report and “Thank You Card’ on the bench. But they were wise to his antics. Immediately they figures out what he was doing and brought it to my attention. “He’ stuffing that dollar in his pocket,” warned Rahah.
His huge grin told me otherwise. What a funny 7-year-old jokester!
Enough is Enough
They were getting a little tired when a bit of family dynamics came to the surface. Apparently, Rayah talks a lot and Petra, armed with a little extra scotch tape caught her sister off guard and taped here mouth shut. Everybody really liked that joke but the best part is I get to ride with them again next Sunday.
Feeling Our Oats
We collected a total of 228 lbs. of food, including 70 pounds of produce. The money we donated amounted to $59.15 … one $25.00 check, $14.15 in cash plus $20.00 from The Axis Food Mart.
See you next Sunday.