Tuesday, September 6, 2011

139th Week Update - Miles Neighborhood Food Collection Project

Hi Folks,

Progress Times Seven

John’s donation in the catbird seat.

Quietly Committed
For a couple of years now, John, my friend and computer client, has given me a Costco-sized box of canned vegetables, soups, peanut butter or tuna every time we meet. To show my appreciation and respect, I place his donation in the top right corner of our One Can A Week food cart. It sticks out there but somewhat modestly.

Apparently his unassuming dedication to feeding the hungry is making a difference on his home front, too.

Carrying on the Tradition
Heidi, John’s lovely wife decided, in honor of Patriot Day, to coordinate a food drive at her office. She works for Climatec, “one of the Southwest’s leading providers of advanced building technologies for a wide variety of industries and buildings.” They have offices in Phoenix, and Tucson in addition to Albuquerque, NM and Irvine, Riverside and San Diego, CA.

In her email to the folks in the Tucson office, Heidi wrote, “In recognition of this occasion. Climatec is sponsoring a food drive to support the Tucson Food Bank’s One-Can-a-Week program.

“We will be collecting contributions through Friday, September 9th.

“Let’s remember to live, laugh and love in honor of those we lost.”


Community Food Bank is honored
guest at neighborhood backyard

Let’s Eat and Do Something
It is obvious John’s and Heidi’s friends are also paying attention to their inconspicuous commitment to feeding the needy. John sent me a copy of an email updating neighbors invited to this past weekend’s barbeque.

“BBQ at Ron & Giff's on Sunday - we are going to bring the tri-tip I got yesterday. Giff just dropped off 3 cases of beans and a case of Mac n cheese for our food drive!!!!”

Like John and Heidi, if more and more people did something that didn’t take much effort but they did that something on a consistent basis, others would notice and jump right in to help.

Miles Explatory Learning

School’s Open
It didn’t take Rebecca Lipson long to get her One Can A Week program started again at the Miles School. But she is taking a number of new directions this year to encourage her students’ and their parents’ commitment to care for our hungry families here in Tucson.

Rebecca wrote, “I just wanted to let you know that One Can a Week is up and running again at Miles. I have a great group of kids working on it and we have already implemented some changes that I am hoping will help keep the momentum going through the year.

“Our bulletin board is a tree theme, with each classroom being a branch of the tree. For every 10 pounds donated, that classroom will get a leaf added to their branch, so they can see how much their donations add up. At the request of the teachers, we moved the board to have more visibility for the elementary students. We are also focusing on a specific food theme for each week--peanut butter, canned meats, beans, cereal, etc. This was my students' idea last year in their end of the year brainstorm about how to make it more successful this year. I'm hoping this gives the kids something specific to focus on and help families know what to donate.

“At this point I am planning on delivering the donations to the Food Bank on Monday afternoons. I am hoping to get more families and/or staff involved by having different people delivering the donations to the Food Bank, but I'm still working that out.”
What I am sure of is Rebecca will work it out, or think of something else that will truly make a difference.

Rosemary at the Sunflower Market
Up again, down again
We always try to encourage consistency in our One Can A Week program which the Sunflower Farmers Market is taking seriously.

The first week in August they donated 100 lbs. The next 5 weeks looked like this: 30 lbs., 6 lbs., 84 lbs., 8 lbs., 66 lbs. Even though it’s a bit of a seesaw ride, they still donated an average of 49 lbs. per week. And no matter what anyone says, that’s impressive for a pink food donation box
Rincon Market

Capitalism at its Finest
When told about the current need at the Community Food Bank for cereal, canned fruit and peanut butter, Ron Abbott, the owner of the Rincon Market, said he would instruct his grocery buyer to find private label deals to maximize his customers’ donations. And maximize he did. This week the shopping cart was overflowing with cereal boxes and other stuff. Next week will be just as impressive.

When Ron and I say One Can A Week is a capitalist idea, this is exactly what we are talking about.

Catalina Vista Neighborhood
Our Youngest Coordinator
Maria is 15 years old and wants to go to medical school. For her community service she decided on One Can A Week. This is a great choice because our program has so many ramifications including community organizing, the psychology of group donations, and of course, feeding the hungry.

In our first meeting, I suggested Maria keep a log of her experiences especially those that directly relate to personal growth and the understanding of group dynamics. When it comes time to write her essay for her Harvard Medical School application, she will really have something to say.

In her email below, you can see Maria took the advice to heart.

Hello Peter,

“Last week was actually my first week to spread the word, and this was my first collection week. So far things have gone great! So far over 84% of those who have answered their door have agreed to participate, and 100% of those 84% have remembered! I spent about 30 minutes chatting with Ellen Adelstein (your former classmate), and enjoyed getting to know her, although my dad (who was riding around the neighborhood on his bike while I went from house to house) got a little too worried. …I look forward to next week!”

Imagine over 102 weeks of reflections and changes to both herself and her neighborhood. Can’t wait to read that paper.

Cereal Doesn’t Lighten the Load
When Jacob Coldsmith at the Community Food Bank asked us to add cereal, peanut butter and canned fruit to our donation list, he thought it might adversely affect our total weekly weight. (Cereal boxes are big but quite light. It’s the milk that bulks up this important breakfast food.)

Even with a 4-foot stack of cereal, we beat our weekly average. The great equalizer was the increase in peanut butter and canned fruit donations.

So keep the cereal coming, we’ll still tip the scales as a heavyweight.

We collected a total of 170 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $6.20 in cash.

See you Sunday,


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