Monday, August 1, 2011

134th Week Update - Miles Neighborhood Food Collection Project

Hi Folks,
Rosemary Makes One Fine Root Beer Float

When 11 o’clock rolled around Saturday morning at the Sunflower
Market on Speedway and Swan, Rosemary Chacon, the
Events/Marketing manager, was ready to dish out the ice cream
and pour the root beer. A few minutes later her first thirsty
customer arrived.
Last Wednesday I received an email from Rosemary.

“On July 30th, I’m doing a “Root beer Float” event from 11-1pm, for a $1 or a can of food. All the donations are going to One Can A Week.”

Those two sentences were the catalyst for a series of events, some inspirational, some definitely calling for a warning label.

Rincon Market First
Saturday started extra early for me because I had to be at the Sunflower Market by 11 am. So by 8:30 I was set up at the Rincon Market counting mounds of change. As I was leaving the Rincon Market at 10:30 am with my shopping cart filled with food, Don, a Rincon regular who had just parked his car a bit askew in the front of the store said he had some food for me. He returned to his car and grabbed a bulging plastic bag. When he handed me the bag I could see individual diapers rubber banded together. “None of these are used?” I asked.

He laughed and said "No, of course not."

Then I remembered Natasha, his wife asked me last week if I could take diapers. I expected a box, not something that looks like the end product of a changing table episode, all bundled up with ends poking out.

(I say yes to everything even non-food items folks decide to donate. I always want to be a resource for people feeling generous. Even if I just drop items off at the Salvation Army for them, I want my donors to know they can turn to me to help others.)

Serving Up Ice Cream and Soda
The second or third customer at our Root Beer Float table was an elderly, toothless woman on a scooter. When she learned the price of our Ice Cream Soda was $1.00 she fished through her bag, found an envelope and extracted one bill. I handed her the drink and she moved her scooter forward maybe eighteen inches. She was now directly in front of me and in position to drop her empty cup in the waste paper basked when she was finished. For the next few minutes I got to see, in profile, mind you, a formless jaw move an incredible distance up and down to devour a tasty treat.

I forced my gaze on other things, the front door, the melon bin but like that young girl in the America’s Funniest Home Video clip who stood next to the kid with the runny nose, I just had to check out the gumming of an ice cream soda. What is that fascination we humans have with disgusting?

Several Miles neighbors came by as did a mom and her two sons who heard the announcement on Bobby Rich’s Morning Mix and brought three cans to donate. She and her youngest son opted for the regular ice cream and soda. Her rather large teenager ordered diet everything. I have no idea why. He was a big kid for sure, but football big. He wasn’t overweight just ready for his school’s defensive line. Maybe his coach will straighten him out.

Soon Corina stopped by, a Southside Rotary Club friend who helped me in the very early days of One Can A Week. As we caught up on these not-so-good times, I prepared a root beer float for another woman. The moment the woman tasted the float she let out a low, joyful moan. And every succeeding spoonful of ice cream and root beer elicited the same response. My eyes darted back and forth from Corina to what sounded like Meg Ryan in the deli scene from the film“When Harry Met Sally.” Good thing the cup only held two ounces of ice cream and soda. I couldn’t have taken much more of her delight.

Going to the Markets
The food I collected at the Rincon Market Saturday totaled 100 lbs. This is a near record amount for a week’s donation and turned out to be a bit of an omen for the Sunflower Market which garnered 108 lbs. of food by the end of the Root Beer Float event. That is 4 more pounds than the amazing One Can A Week checkout counter stickers produced.

In talking with my friend and confidant, Ed Altamirano on Miles Street Sunday I told him about my wish to pursue more food markets with brightly colored Thank You Kid boxes and events. Unfortunately, the costs involved for printing and decorating the Community Food Bank boxes is a bit prohibitive, not to mention my time. I probably will have to find some grant money some place.

I was just thinking aloud but Ed immediately made a suggestion. He will contact a friend of his who is very much involved in grant writing.

This is a great idea. I just need information and some explanation of the grant process. I can write my own grant once I know which direction to follow.

It’s apparent I find discovering more ways to gather more food exciting. But I need to find a little help first.

Nice of You to Call
An hour or so after I finished my Sunday rounds I got a call from a neighbor on Miles. He was out when I visited his home earlier and he forgot to leave his donation. He assured me he would have something next week … even extra.

It’s only one can of food but it is as important to my neighbors as it is to me. That sure makes me very happy.

We collected a total of 158 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $37.50, a $25.00 check and $12.50 in cash.

See you Sunday,


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