Monday, December 6, 2010

100th Week Update - Miles Neighborhood Food Collection Project

Hi Folks,

One Can A Week Off on Two New Adventures

Last Tuesday, the 30th I met with Rebecca Lipson, the Miles middle school science teacher, to talk about starting One Can A Week as the school’s community service program. The next day, Wednesday, Rebecca made a presentation to her fellow teachers. In that meeting, she and the Miles staff created a very strong and impressive community service program. Rodney Glassman read Rebecca’s email once then an hour or so later read it again. He commented both times. You’ll probably do what Rodney did and read it a couple of times yourself…it’s really that good.

"Peter and Rodney,

"I got very positive responses from the other teachers today about implementing the One Can a Week program at Miles. It will fit in nicely with the work we've been doing with the Ben's Bells' Kind Kids Program ( this school year. It actually ended up being a funny coincidence that the December Kind Kids activities included starting a community service project within the school. When things like that coincide it's usually a very good sign that we're doing the right thing!

"Here's how we see the program being implemented at Miles:
Each classroom will have a collection box (not a big one, just one made by the students) for students in that class. Items will be collected Monday-Friday. It is up to the individual classroom teachers if they want to tally their own classroom results. 

"Thank you slips will be given to students bringing in items. Students will write their names on the slips and add them to a "kindness tree" on a bulletin board near the front office. This way, everyone will be able to see the donations adding up. We will also have weekly tallies posted here (possibly as increments measured out along the tree trunk, starting at the roots and working its way up to the top branches)

"A class of middle school students (my environmental design class) will be responsible for collecting the donations from each classroom on Friday afternoons. When these students pick up the donations they will also be resupplying the teacher with thank you slips.

"All collected items will be tallied by the middle school students, who will be keeping track of the weekly reports and posting them on the bulletin board by the office.

"Peter has kindly offered to pick up the donated items on Friday afternoon. We will get the weight total from the Community Food Bank to be added into our weekly reports.

"Since it is almost the end of the semester, we will be implementing this program after the winter break. The first week back (January 3rd) will be spent sending out information to parents and introducing the program to the students. Collections will begin the second week after break. The question was brought up of how some of this food could go directly to families here at school. I will be meeting with our social worker to identify which of our school families need this type of support and how we can best help them.

"Over the break, I will also be contacting some people that may want to further support our efforts. This includes my friend Beverly who is a film professor at the UofA. She may have students or colleagues who are interested in taking on this topic. I can also contact a friend of mine who is a deejay at The Mountain and other friends who do radio shows on KXCI involving social issues. Any coverage might inspire someone else to start up a program in their school or neighborhood.

"I am sure that we'll have to troubleshoot some things as we go, but it feels like we have a pretty good start to things. Let me know if you have any feedback.


We have neighbors helping neighbors help. And now we have kids helping kids end their hunger. I just love this world we are creating.

Capitalism Really Is the Way to Feed Our Hungry Children
A few months back I made a presentation to Richard Rodriguez, the manager of the Sunflower Farmers Market on Speedway and Swan. This past Thursday we met to set up his store’s One Can A Week program. Every Wednesday, which is their double coupon day, Richard suggested I set up my display table from 3 pm to 6 pm near the front door along side the large Community Food Bank donation box. In addition, over the next few weeks we will place shelf talkers around the store to help his customers get into the habit of placing one can a week in the Food Bank box.

Richard turned the project over to Michelle Krzyzanwski his Special Events Coordinator. Right away Michelle suggested I create a tall thermometer-type display so her customers could see their donations add up week after week. This is such a terrific idea. I plan on having the display built by next week.

The Sunflower Farmers Market already has 148 lbs. to start their program off which I picked up the day of our meeting. Just think, a well-respected supermarket makes it very easy for its customers to perform a little community service each week and in turn those customers help feed hungry families in Tucson. And all it takes is a can of tuna or a can of beans dropped in a box once a week as the customers head out the door to their cars in the parking lot. My thinking is we soon will be talking tons, not pounds.

A Heart-shaped Watermelon
The moment I pushed the cart up on the scale, Keith, my weekly Food Bank helper, reached into the basket an plucked the watermelon out. “Look,” he said with a bit of surprise in his voice, “a watermelon in the sharp of a heart.”

Juan who was sitting behind the counter stopped counting the money and slowly looked up. “So?”

Maybe that comment would have worked better in February.

We collected a total of 216 lbs. of food including 31 lbs. of produce. The money we donated amounted to $47.82 … a $25.00 check and $12.00 in cash plus $10.82 from The Axis Food Mart.

See you Sunday,


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