Monday, November 28, 2011

151st Week Update - Miles Neighborhood Food Collection Project

Hi Folks,
-A Sweet Idea, Brother- 

Anthony calls most guys brother. He’s big and imposing and served two tours in Iraq. So he can say just about anything he wants and even sell raw honey to the ladies. Nobody objects.

My One Can A Week display table was set up by 9:15 am Saturday morning in its usual spot—just inside the automatic doors on the right at the Rincon Market. A few minutes later a gentleman tried to place his display table on the other side of the doors but there was little room to maneuver. He dropped his table next to me and said, “I guess we’re neighbors.”

His demeanor reminded me of my days back in the Army when newly assigned soldiers showed up and were expected to settle in with little or no direction. They just pick a spot and drop their gear with a curt hello.

Within a few minutes, Anthony had his display of pint and half pint raw honey jars neatly arranged on a three-tier old barn wood rack. Each inquisitive prospect was offered a taste and if she agreed, he handed her a freshly dipped swizzle stick with a blob of honey on the end. He offered a sample to me and I gave it a try since my only experience with honey was a supermarket brand. This honey was less sweet and had a little bit of texture. That texture is pollen and bees’ wings and other things that bears really find appealing. I tend to agree with the bears. It tasted better than any other honey I’ve had.

“I’m Anthony. Have you been in the service?” he asked me out of the blue about a half hour after we first talked. “I’m Army.”

“I’m Army,’ I said to his delight, “but a different war.”

“You know, brother, you can tell about a man’s character after just a couple of minutes. I knew you were in the service.”

He asked and I told him about One Can A Week and the folks the Community Food Bank serves. Anthony explained his operation that is as high tech as a small business selling raw honey jars can get. He kept the cash in his pocket and his iPhone and an iPad with a credit card swipe device sticking out of one end of the tablet like a bee stinger did the rest.

“This is a simple business,” Anthony said “and I’m always looking for people to set up displays like this one. I have ten of these booths around the city and they text sales reports to me on their iPhones all day long.”

I mentioned Microloans and Anthony brought up city license requirements that make it tough on very small businesses.

We left it there and I headed for home and lunch. While attacking my sandwich and cookies, I read an article on the Huffington Post by Howard Fineman. Paul Rieckhoff: Iraq And Afghanistan Veterans Of America Founder (The Inspirationals).

I was riveted.

Here was a soldier talking about what he learned in the war as a manager and a producer and how those skills fit into America’s financial dilemma now. I had just met Anthony and he was one of those high tech soldiers, too ... incredibly practical, innovative and entrenched in high tech wizardry. Getting shot at with little or no protection such as vests and armored vehicles makes more than a man or woman of you. It makes you an extraordinary problem solver.

After reading the article I felt hopeful that we will eventually come out of this mess where nearly 25% of Americans never know where their next meal is coming from and that percentage includes millions of kids.

If you need a boost similar to the one I got, read Mr. Fineman’s article, then go out and find one of those soldiers like Paul Rieckhoff or Anthony Tubbialo and help him or her help you make a difference. I know Anthony personally and I will help him develop his vendor program that will begin to create jobs for desperate folks. Soldering on is the way back to our future.

Free Business Forum in the Neighborhood
Richard Fimbres, our Ward 5 Councilman, is sponsoring a business forum on Wednesday, November 30th from 6 to 8 pm at the Fred G. Acosta Job Corps Center, 901 S. Campbell Avenue.

The forum includes a discussion on how to get access to business capital and employer services. In addition, you will learn what steps you need to take to do business with and in the City of Tucson.

Hors d’oeuvres and refreshments will be served.

For more information: call 520-791-4231.

Don’t miss this great opportunity to talk business with Richard Fimbres.

So Much Produce
It took a whole cart to carry the produce we collected this week.

On Thanksgiving, Merle Stolar, my friend from high school, invited friends and family to a wonderful and delicious dinner in her equally wonderful and delicious home. As we left, I got to take home lots of boxed and bagged fruit that was donated to the food bank by each invited quest. Taking care of the needy in Tucson is part of Merle’s Thanksgiving tradition, too.

We collected a total of 264 lbs. of food, 106 lbs. of that in produce. The money we donated amounted to $36.50, a $25.00 check and $11.50 in cash. Also a neighbor donated a supermarket gift certificate for a $20.00 turkey.

See you Sunday,


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