Monday, November 21, 2011

150th Week Update - Miles Neighborhood Food Collection Project

Hi Folks,
The Man Behind the Idea

A month before I started One Can A Week back in 2009, I met Edward Altamirano in the middle of Miles Street walking his dog Kahlua. We had seen each other before during our many dog walks through the neighborhood but only waved. This day I was looking for someone to help me decide if I should go ahead with my food collection idea. I walked up to him and introduced myself.

“Let me ask you something, Ed. I am considering collecting One Can A Week from my neighbors every Sunday for my community service. What do you think of the idea and would you participate.” (Even then I know the word participate was the key ingredient in my food collection program, not the word join.)

Ed paused a moment. “You know, I am a city inspector and I go into peoples’ homes a lot and I often see empty kitchen cabinets and empty refrigerators. It’s disturbing. So yes, I will be glad to help.”

That image of Ed, with Kahlua at his side, in the middle of Miles Street is stuck in my head. He was the perfect person to ask. He faces the problem every day he goes to work. Whether this was an omen of some kind or not, at that very moment I talked to Ed, I decided to press forward with One Can A Week.

This past Sunday I asked Ed to leash up Kahlua and follow me into the street. I wanted to give him a present for helping me—lo these many years of Sundays ago—and, too, I wanted to capture on camera that image I have of Ed helping me leap into community service.

His monster hand nearly swallowed up the Community Food Bank/One Can A Week can opener I gave him. He liked it immediately and said he needed a new one.

Everyone who participates in One Can A Week in the Miles Neighborhood will get a can opener, but I wanted Ed to be among the first. After all, he’s the one who took my idea and made it real for me.

The Woman In Front of the Idea

Kristin Broksas, Director of Youth and Family Ministries at Catalina United Methodist Church, lived in the big house at the time I started One Can A Week. (I live in the guesthouse in the back.) So she was my closest neighbor and the first person I asked to participate that first Sunday. Just this Saturday, Kristin who moved to a beautiful home on Fremont Street held an early Thanksgiving dinner and when I responded to her Facebook invitation a short time back, she replied, “I hope you have A LOT of cans to take with you!!”

As Kristin has done in the past, she asks folks to bring a food donation for the Community Food Bank when they show up for dinner. And since Kristin is a wonderful cook and the meal is a total gourmet delight, guests stream in with cans in hand. This year Kristin collected 58 lbs. and of course I gave her one of the first Community Food Bank/One Can A Week can operners off the line.

Styling Seniors

The show was a sellout. And the first thing I said to Shannon Iggi, Program Director & Hospitality Manager at Villa Hermosa as I greeted her was, “You have to be congratulated, you got them all out of their rooms.” She smiled and quickly told me the schedule of events. The Dillard’s Fashion Show would start off the program and then there would be a little break This is where she would introduce me and I’d say a few words.

When the time came I told them about the great need and that they should take a tour of the Community Food Bank some day soon. (Shannon wants to schedule such a tour so I wasn’t speaking out of turn.)

More smiling and pinching of the fabric followed. Then another short break where Jack Steindler was presented with a Villa Hermosa/One Can A Week certificate for his efforts in keeping the program going. Shannon said Jack’s there in her office week after week reminding everyone to donate.

Jack Steindler receives a Villa Hermosa/One Can A Week certificate from Shannon Iggi for helping coordinate the collection of 1,826 lbs. of food for the Community Food Bank. He has been working on the program at Villa Hermosa since August, 2009.

Here is the donation table at the Dillard’s Fashion Show for the residence of Villa Hermosa. The framed sign reads: “Canned Food Donation Drop-off. Your donation supports the Tucson CommunityFood Bank. Thank you for your generosity.”

Chaos is More Photogenic
The fellow helping me today unload my trunk at the food bank probably is a relative of Adrian Monk or Felix Unger or some other orderly person like that. I came back with the second cart to fill and found the first a librarian’s dream.

We collected nearly 400 lbs. and when you are that neat it sure doesn’t look like 400 lbs. Oh well, it still is a lot of food and neatness doesn’t count.

We collected a total of 398 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $55.50, $45.00 in checks and $8.50 in cash.

Special Note: Everyone else we help with One Can A Week did a bang up job also. Here are the tallies: The Rincon Market, 116 lbs.; the Sunflower Market, 126 lbs. and Catalina Vista, 54 lbs. All toll, One Can A Week turned in 694 lbs. of food.

See you Sunday,


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