Tuesday, December 25, 2012

207th Week Update - Miles Neighborhood Food Collection Project

Hi Folks,
A Kind Word for Everyone all 136 of them

Councilman Richard Fimbres and Peter
Photo by Mary Fimbres
If you’ve been keeping up with Councilman Richard Fimbres’ professional and well designed monthly newsletter you know he and his team have been very busy attracting big time businesses here to Ward 5. Due to their tireless efforts we now have Costco, Wal-Mart and Curacao just down the road a piece which really does mean jobs … jobs … jobs.

So to watch Councilman Fimbres display some of his charm during the Recognition Ceremony at the Annual Ward 5 Holiday Partly was a pure delight. Malinda Jacobs, Council Administrative Assistant, held the large stack of award certificate folders and read off the names quietly to Councilman Fimbres. He repeated the name in a more robust fashion, not to dissimilar to an operatic tenor warming up.

After a name was called out, the individual stepped forward to receive a certificate, a hand shake and a Tucson medallion. During the exchange, Councilman Fimbres said a few words about that person’s contribution to the community. What soon became apparent is Councilman Fimbres knew every one of the 136 honoree and had a tidbit of personal information about each of them to share with the audience.

“We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community… Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.”

-- Cesar Chavez   Quote published on the cover of the Ward 5 Awards pamphlet.

Amazing. That had to be some kind of magic trick or he has an incredible memory. While I munched on some wonderful medium rare roast beef, a gentleman standing next to me couldn’t quite get my name right but he knew who I was. “I read you blog,” he said. I remembered meeting him, too, but I had no idea why I know him.

This foggy recollection process is perfectly normal. Two people meet again after some time passes and they have to state a number of things like names, places and jobs to recall information out of the memory vault. However, what Councilman Fimbres was doing—instantly remembering bios as if he just had lunch with them—was phenomenal, magical and quite entertaining.

When he runs for office again he should be elected in a landslide. Not because he brings jobs and businesses to the neighborhood. That’s significant but Councilman Fimbres does something that is even more important. He makes each of his constituents feel that what they do matters.


Donations on the Rise
A couple of weeks ago we learned that the economy was improving at the Rincon Market and coincidentally around the country. This week the Rincon Market set a new donation record of $215.50, well above the previous $160.00 mark.

Another new development at the Rincon Market is the complete remodeling of the grocery department. Stop by and check it out. If you are into wines, you’ll love the greatly expanded selection and there is soon to be a whole new specialty food area.

Things are moving forward for the Abbott Family and it couldn't happen to nicer, more thoughtful folks.

Outside Pitching In
As I wrote about in an earlier post, my friends John and Heidi who live in Ventana Canyon donate one or more of those large Costco food packages nearly every week. In an effort to highlight their efforts, I place their donation in the upper right hand corner resting against the cart handle. (It’s cans and peanut butter this week.)

Now Dr. Su-Wen Chang, my dentist, and his staff are donating to our Miles One Can A Week program. Of course, they have to be recognized, too, but since they give such a variety of food, I decided to mark the occasion with a very toothy Smiley Face somewhere in the photo.

We collected a total of 294 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $36.00, a $25.00 check and $11.00 in cash.

See you Sunday,

Peter

Monday, December 17, 2012

206th Week Update - Miles Neighborhood Food Collection Project

Hi Folks,
… UPDATE …

It’s beginning! Last week there were two calls for a pickup. Victoria Cortinas, Contract Administrator at the Department of Procurement and Rosi Andrade, Associate Research Professor, at the Southwest Institute for Research on Women had brimming Community Food Bank collection boxes and need help. Victoria’s organization donated 90 lbs. of food and $20 in cash while Rosi’s institute gave 86 lbs. in food. Together they feed 45 folks three meals in one day.

The best part of the pickup was both Victoria and Rosi were quite excited to be involved in the Mayor’s One Can A Meeting Program.

Just Wait
Every writer has a gnawing feeling as a deadline approaches that maybe this time the idea spigot will stop trickling out suggestions. Today was my day. I had nothing … but I didn’t let it get to me. Well, maybe only a little. I could have done without all those cookies.

By 4:00 PM I had two stories that merit telling. Whew, that was the closest so far.


Adam is barking to let everyone on 13th Street and Santa Rita know that the
wonderful green barrels have arrived.
 3:28 PM – About two weeks ago I sent an email to Nanette Reynolds and Larry Robinson at the Pima County Regional Flood Control District requesting waste disposal barrels for the grassy section on the corner of 13th Street and Santa Rita. I hadn’t heard back so I called today around 11:00 AM to personally present my request. Nanette who is always so helpful said she would do some follow up.

She called back in the afternoon and told me there would be at least 4 barrels in that area and one or two will go on duty today.

I took a walk with Adam around 4:15 PM to get a photo of a barrel already in the Arroyo and ran into Mary Kathryn who was out walking with her son Liam, too. I got the photo and continued on to 13th Street.

That Arroyo path is even more pleasant with lucid company so we ended up at our destination more quickly than I anticipated. At the far end of the grassy plot I spotted the green barrel and to my surprise I was really quite excited to see a painted oil drum chained to a rail.

The Miles Neighborhood really needs the Arroyo Chico Park and those green barrels are the best way to keep the property clean and healthy and fun for everyone. Now I’m going to see what is happening with the community garden.

A small dent that did not turn into a big deal.
10:30 AM - As I walked down the ramp to the new Ford van Steve Furhig, Kym’s husband, generously offered to cart our donations to the Food Bank, a Mac truck drive named Jose walked up to me.

The bay next to the ramp was empty when we took the food carts into the warehouse, but now there was a monstrous truck parked there.

“Is that your van?” he asked. I nodded.

“I scraped the back end as I backed up,” he continued. “I’ll pay for it personally because my deduction is $1,000.”

Steve walked by me quickly and got into the van. I called but had to go get him. His first reaction to the news and the sight of the damage was a bit excited. “Oh, no, it’s a brand new van,” he moaned, dancing away and throwing his hands in the air.

He quickly calmed down and soon phone numbers and names were exchanged. The Food Bank documents all accidents on their property so a staffer got involved, too.

As that went on I talked to the Jose and praised him for stepping up. That was big of him. He told me that in the past he was a very angry man and had many scrapes and scraps with the law but he “came to know the Lord” and now he always does the right thing no matter if his first reaction is to slide.

Of course, everybody’s first reaction is to slide but it is the brave and the strong who face up to life. We need more men like Jose on our roads and more men like Steve who can wrestle their emotions to the ground in seconds.

Two More Weeks to Go
Our collection on December 30th will mark the fourth year we have donated weekly to the Community Food Bank. We are going to surpass last year’s donations, but perhaps we can do it in a big way. For the next two Sundays, maybe you can give just a little more. And as you know just a little more, on a consistent basis, makes a huge difference.

We collected a total of 160 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $81.00, two checks for $75.00 and $6.00 in cash.

See you Sunday,

Peter





Monday, December 10, 2012

205th Week Update - Miles Neighborhood Food Collection Project

Hi Folks,
… UPDATE … 


When I sent Candy Parkhurst, the office manager at Lewis and Roca, the weight of her most recent donation (48 lbs.), she reminded me that their contribution to the Community Food Bank really represented the efforts of the whole office building at One South Church. (See arrow below.)

“A notice was sent," Candy wrote, “to all the tenants in our building, regarding our Food Bank collection effort so I hope we will continue strong through the holidays!”

What a great idea. Right after the first of the year I will have a reliable small truck to make pickups so I am going to go around to all of the large office buildings to implement Candy’s approach.

People are always stymied when it comes to donating small amounts to the food bank but if there were those large Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona boxes everywhere with one person in each building monitoring the situation, everybody wins. I’ll be busy, the donors will be happy they can help a little every week and the hungry kids will be fed. Now there’s a Happy New Year.



… UPDATE …

Tiffany Kassel and her kids are really energized when it comes to One Can A Week. They recently donated 141 lbs. of food and $36.00 in cash. Since school began in September, Tiffany’s class as helped their classmates contribute 481 lbs. of food and $137.25 in cash. Impressive.


In Molly’s Memory
Since Molly’s death on November 30th I’ve been pretty much holding it together, with only momentary bouts of sadness interrupting my days and nights. Lots of friends have written cards, emails and even called to offer support.

On Saturday I got a greeting card featuring two plump cardinals resting on snow covered branches. Inside my friends Julieta and Ernesto Portillo wrote, “In
memory of your beautiful Molly we are sending you this check for the food bank.”

Well, that touched me deeply…and still does even as I wrote this blog. Julieta and Ernesto are right, Molly was beautiful … and so are they.


Ramen Noodles On Sale
Kids have no problem eating Ramen Noodles so when they went on sale this past week, Ed and Liz couldn’t resist buying a whole case. The cost was about 20 cents each but the smiles on the kids’ faces will be priceless.

We collected a total of 182 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $31.00, a $25.00 check (Molly’s Memorial) and $6.00 in cash.

See you Sunday,

Peter



Monday, December 3, 2012

204th Week Update - Miles Neighborhood Food Collection Project

Hi Folks,

Her Name Was Molly
July 1, 1999 - November 30, 2012

An old fashioned name like Patience might have suited her better but no matter what moniker was chosen for her, her understanding of life on this planet would have been just as keen.

Molly seldom barked, a notable feat for a Westie, but scampering cats and squirrels and dogs trotting wearily beside bicycles triggered a very strong desire to chase after and noisily chastise her prey.

Most other times she would quietly go about her business of sniffing the ground or just sit and wait while I would chat with friends or other folks walking in the park. How long I took was of no concern.

Since Friday night she has been in my thoughts constantly no matter what I was doing. Yes, Molly was 13 and one half years of constant joy in my life but now this is the time to be deeply sad for a little while. A very small due, in deed, for all those years of sunshine.

On Sunday morning while watching Up with Chris Hayes  I came to the realization that we, as humans in our present state, are never going to eliminate hunger. Chris and his guests were in the midst of a spirited discussion on the legalization of marijuana.

Round and round they went comparing the current situation to the history and evolution of alcohol in America. Suddenly the question I had on my side of the computer screen was, “Why is life so intolerable in America that millions upon millions of people need another kind of “fuzzed out” reality just to get by?”  With so many people around the world willing to come to America at any cost you would think otherwise.

I thought of that question because when things got rough or annoying in my life I had Molly to pick up and hold or just to walk around the block as I unclouded my mind. That stabilizing force in my reality always made things get better. 

Unfortunately, what I had with Molly is not anything drinkers and smokers could possible comprehend. They are too busy hiding or anesthetizing the pangs of living on this planet instead of sharing hope and understanding with another creature.

Many times I would grab Molly’s jowls, get nose to nose and stare into her brown, almond shaped eyes. “So what do you think, girl?” I’d say.  “What should I do now?”

Molly would just calmly look back at me as if to say, “I’m not too worried, you’ll think of something.  You always do.”

Right now I’m thinking of all those hungry kids and their parents and those millions upon millions of people who could help but they just can’t get into life on this planet. So hunger goes on. And altered “fuzzed out” realities go on causing us to get little done. But this doesn’t mean we can ever give up on feeding the poor. I had Molly in my life so I saw hope. With Adam, my other Westie, I still see that same hope but it’s a little more rambunctious.


Eye-opening Trip
Since my Cabriolet is still down for the count, I asked Hugh Koepke, Kym’s brother, if he’d like to help me deliver our donation to the Food Bank on Monday. He had the time.

As soon as we pushed the cart through the warehouse door, Hugh stopped and looked around. The enormity of the warehouse gave him pause. After we weighed in I took him on a tour and as luck would have it we ran into Bill Carnegie, the CEO. Gracious as always, Bill answered all of Hugh’s questions about the folks the Food Bank serves and the process those folks go through. 

Even in the car driving back home Hugh was still startled by the number of needy taken care of by the Food Bank. 250,000 people a month was not an easy number for him to digest.

Hugh helps Kym collect on 13th Street
when she has family commitments that
come up now and again on Sunday. But after today’s experience at the Food Bank, I’ll bet he’s thinking about how he can do even more.

We collected a total of 163 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $36.00, a $25.00 check and $11.00 in cash.

See you Sunday,

Peter

Monday, November 26, 2012

203rd Week Update - Miles Neighborhood Food Collection Project

Hi Folks,

                      … UPDATE …

Heather Thrall from the City of Tucson, Planning & Development Services Department, the folks who approve every building permit in Tucson, emailed to say she had a food pick up. There was a sense of urgency in her words because she wanted to make sure the food arrived at the Community Food Bank before Thanksgiving. It did. Their first donation amounted to 96 lbs. of food and $25 in cash.

The Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona’s donation box sits directly across from the Permits Desk. A sign placed above the box after this photo was taken encourages everyone to give cash donations if they just don’t happen to have a handy can of string beans in their back pocket.



Poor Man With A Mission is Often Mistaken for an Insurance Salesman

The provocative headline is not meant to disparage insurance salesmen or any other persistent salesperson who has a tough product to sell; one that requires a substantial commitment on the part of the buyer. It is, however, meant to highlight the fact that the word commitment is often viewed as a negative experience even when it involves very essential necessities such as a home, an automobile and taking care of our neighbors.

Friday I received a call and an invitation to dinner at the Blue Fin restaurant on Saturday night from my high school friend Ellen Adelstein. Before we hung up Ellen told me she read my latest blog on my search for a sponsor and then suggested “I sounded a little desperate.”

Well, I am desperate, but not for myself. I personally have everything I need and when thing just don’t go as planned, I change and make new plans. An old girl friend who witnessed some of my “bad days or weeks” got mad at me because she didn’t like how I would get into trouble and then suddenly things always came up “smelling like roses.” Her words.

The desperation I feel is for hungry kids, our society and folks just not caring until it falls on them. A great example is the mega storm Sandy. People say ‘Oh, my goodness” and then run off to help for a little bit. But what about those problems that are just as big, 40,000 hungry kids in Tucson. Unfortunately there are no headlines. Teachers tell me those kids are there falling asleep in the classrooms and slowing themselves and the other kids down. Bill Carnegie, CEO of the Community Food Bank tells me those kids are there because he tries to feed as many as he can every day.

What’s the solution?
Powerful people reaching out to people who have potential. A great example is General Mills’ support of 9-year-old Samantha Gordon a player on a boy’s football team in Oregon. (Click on link to view Sam “Sweet Feet” Gordon’s 1911 yards, 35 touchdowns and 65 tackles.) By placing Samantha on the Wheaties Cereal Box General Mills is helping her family, kids in general, young girls in particular and our society reconsider arbitrary rules and standards. On top of that they will also sell a heck of a lot of cereal.

Closer to home, powerful people can search for great mechanics or cooks or merchants and help them go search for great mechanics or cooks or merchants and help them go into or expand their business. Know-how is just as important as financing. This will create more jobs and fewer hungry kids. Oh, there is one catch. As in the case of General Mills, it does require a genuine commitment to our children which in turn will help in the evolution of life and humanity on this planet.

More Like a Feast
This week’s donations included lots of beans, potatoes, bananas and a big frozen ham (center of the cart). Even as we approach the fifth anniversary of One Can A Week, all of our neighbors are still very much engaged and enthusiastic about helping feed the hungry families here in Tucson. And that’s exactly as it should be. Hunger is a very large problem in our society and we can’t tire until everyone is guaranteed a healthy diet every day of the week.

We collected a total of 230 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $26.00, a $25.00 check and $1.00 in cash.

See you Sunday,

Peter




Monday, November 19, 2012

202nd Week Update - Miles Neighborhood Food Collection Project

Hi Folks,
Can’t Turn Back Now

When I began One Can A Week in 2009 it fit neatly into my budget. Just a little inkjet printing, just a little gas and a red patio umbrella that was on sale. Now with how the program is expanding and how people are taking to the idea especially Mayor Rothschild’s administration, I have to look for ways to extend the life of my Cabriolet and stretch my funds.

This past Friday I got an email from Heather Thrall in the City of Tucson, Planning and Development Services Department who needed a sizeable food donation pickup. After I set a pickup time and date she wrote back to say, “I commend you for your service to this community, it's beyond kind and very needed.”

With the inauguration of Mayor Rothschild’s One Can A Meeting program offices all over town collect or would like to collect food but they do not have the know-how or the way, for that matter, to deliver their donations to the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. It is just such a hassle for them and I totally understand.

So Heather is quite correct, a pick up service is “very needed.” The Community Food Bank does pick up food but they have schedules and cannot act quickly, if at all, to random calls for pick up service especially if those donations are under 50 lbs.

My next thought after reading Heather’s email was I need a One Can A Week sponsor to help me meet these new, and welcomed, I might add, expenses. Just considering the prospect of making a presentation to a prospective sponsor opened up a whole new line of thinking and work, too. Five hours later I had the first draft of a One Can A Week proposal in a file on my laptop. I’ve mentioned all of the ideas in the proposal before but have never written them down like the program’s mission, the rational for its entrepreneurial structure and so on.

For instance with regard to the organizational structure I wrote:

After creating One Can A Week I realized I could only personally collect so much food in a few hours on Sunday. (Sunday was chosen because that is the one day of the week that folks are home on a consistent basis.) I also decided that Coordinators should only work in the neighborhood in which they live.

Other criteria:
Adherence to the strict meaning of the word charity –  Every food donation and every penny is given to the Community Food Bank.

Total transparency – All donation records are based on Community Food Bank receipts only.

Entrepreneurial participation – Each neighborhood Coordinator independently initiates a One Can A Week program and is totally responsible for weekly collections and records. If there are any irregularities, the Coordinator is called into question, not the One Can A Week program.

No nonprofit status – Many people are concerned that their donations will be used for purposes other than to help individuals. The web and newspapers are filled with stories of abuses and even major charities are not immune to such shenanigans. One Can A Week will never file for nonprofit status with the IRS. This is in line with my thinking that a charity should be a totally charitable venture. Therefore, no income or expense will be paid for from any donation to One Can A Week.

Then I thought I should highlight the different aspects of One Can A Week operating here in Tucson.

There are currently 6 other neighborhoods and organizations picking up the One Can A Week gauntlet and collecting food and dollars for the Community Food Bank.

The Rincon Market on 6th Street is the prototype of the capitalistic function of the program. Patrons donate small change and dollar bills each week in a collection jar by the cash register. Those cash donations are then used to purchase can goods in the grocery section of the market. Over the past two years the Rincon Market has donated over 4.5 tons of food.

Maria Maes, a high school student in the Catalina Vista Neighborhood collects approximately 35 lbs. on average per week accumulating over a ton of food in the past two years.

Frank Flasch encouraged most of the HOAs in his Old Fort Lowell Neighborhood to participate in One Can A Week. To date they have over 9 HOA participating with more coming on board. They collect an average of 55 lbs. per month. In a year that will amount to over two tons of food.

Mayor Jonathan Rothschild’s One Can A Meeting program began in October, 2012 and involves a number of prominent organizations in Tucson such as PICOR, Lewis and Roca, Providence Services, City of Tucson, Planning and Development Services Department and The Arizona Theatre Company. These organizations will prove to be more productive in the holiday season.

The Miles School in the Miles Neighborhood is now in its third year of donating to the Community Food Bank through the One Can A Week program. Each school year a different class is assigned the task of collecting food from the other classes. In addition the students visit the food bank and learn to shop at local supermarkets.

Senior Companions a part of Our Family Services, a national volunteer service initiative is continuing their involvement in One Can A Week for another year. When asked, all the volunteers said yes to their commitment to the Community Food Bank.

There is more to the proposal and I would really appreciate your comments before I move forward. You can click on the link to view the information on the One Can A Week website.

There is no going back because there are too many parents and children to feed and besides, we do have a winning community service program on our hands. I have this feeling some community minded sponsor will step up. I just have to get the word out.

Building More than Homes
Jarrett Reidhead said he would show up in November and donate One Can A Week for all four of his properties in the Miles Neighborhood. The total was 48 cans or 12 weeks x 4 homes. That’s a significant gesture especially since his donation put us way over 200 lbs. this week.

Happy Thanksgiving, Jarrett, from all of us.

We collected a total of 254 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $57.00, a $25.00 check and $27.00 in cash.

See you Sunday,

Peter




   


One Can A Week Sponsorship Program

In the past 3 years and 11 months, One Can A Week has collected more than 23 tons of food and $10,000 in cash from the Miles Neighborhood, a working class community near Broadway and Campbell.


The end result is more than 11,900 parents and children have been fed three means in one day. And based on the buying power of the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, ($1.00 = $9.50) the $10,000 donation produced the equivalent of $95,000 in food and services.

Other One Can A Week Programs in TucsonThere are currently 6 other neighborhoods and organizations picking up the One Can A Week gauntlet and collecting food and dollars for the Community Food Bank.

The Rincon Market on 6th Street is the prototype of the capitalistic function of the program. Patrons donate small change and dollar bills each week in a collection jar by the cash register. Those cash donations are then used to purchase can goods in the grocery section of the market. Over the past two years the Rincon Market has donated over 4.5 tons of food.

Maria Maes, a high school student in the Catalina Vista Neighborhood collects approximately 35 lbs. on average per week accumulating over a ton of food in the past two years.

Frank Flasch encouraged most of the HOAs in his Old Fort Lowell Neighborhood to participate in One Can A Week. To date they have over 9 HOA participating with more coming board. They collect an average of 55 lbs. per month. In a year that will amount to over two tons of food.

Mayor Jonathan Rothschild’s One Can A Meeting program began in October, 2012 and involves a number of prominent organizations in Tucson such as PICOR, Lewis and Roca, Providence Services, City of Tucson, Planning and Development Services Department and The Arizona Theatre Company. These organizations will prove to be more productive in the holiday season.

The Miles School in the Miles Neighborhood is now in its third year of donating to the Community Food Bank through the One Can A Week program. Each school year a different class is assigned the task of collecting food from the other classes. In addition the students visit the food bank and learn to shop at local supermarkets.

Senior Companions a part of Our Family Services, a national volunteer service initiative is continuing their commitment to One Can A Week for another year. When asked, all the volunteers said yes to their commitment to the Community Food Bank.

One Can A Week Programs Around the CountryA number of cities in the country including Phoenix, AZ; Millburn, NJ (near Short Hills): Atlanta, GA and Wake Forest, NC. have One Can A Week programs.

Of particular note is the Lion’s Club participation in Athens, WV. Students in a political science class at Concord University set up a One Can A Week program in an effort to replicate the level of participation we were experiencing here in Tucson. Their results were the same as ours.

Fifty percent of the neighbors in the selected neighborhood participated in the program on a consistent basis. In addition, the students presented their findings to a local Lion’s Club that eventually took over and continued their food donation program.

One Can A Week Mission
The idea was very simple. Ask neighbors weekly to help feed the needy in Tucson by donating just One Can A Week. This request suddenly opened many serendipitous doors.

-  Nearly 50% of a neighborhood will responds weekly to the food drive.

-  Neighbors become excited and engaged in the community service program

-  Neighbors will stay involved in the program as long as the Coordinator shows up on their doorstep each week. As of November 19, 2012 neighbors in the Miles Neighborhood have participated in the One Can A Week program for 202 straight weeks.

With such a profound success rate it is now my mission to introduce One Can A Week to other neighborhoods in Tucson and around the country to help end hunger and subsequently engage at least 50% of our country’s citizens in community service.

One Can A Week Organizational Strategy
When creating One Can A Week I realized I could only personally collect so much food in a few hours on Sunday. (Sunday was chosen because that is the one day of the week that folks are home on a consistent basis.) I also decided that Coordinators should only work in the neighborhood in which they live.

Other criteria:
Adherence to the strict meaning of the word charity – Every food donation and every penny is given to the Community Food Bank.

Total transparency – All donation records are based on Community Food Bank receipts only.

Entrepreneurial participation – Each neighborhood Coordinator independently initiates a One Can A Week program and is totally responsible for weekly collections and records. If there are any irregularities, the Coordinator is called into question, not the One Can A Week program.

No nonprofit status – Many people are concerned that their donations will be used for purposes other than to help individuals. The web and newspapers are filled with stories of abuses and even major charities are not immune to such shenanigans. One Can A Week will never file for nonprofit status with the IRS. This is in line with my thinking that a charity should be a totally charitable venture. Therefore, no income or expense will be paid for from any donation to One Can A Week.

“The Food is there, we just have to pick it up.”

How to Grow One Can A Week Food Donation Pick Up and Delivery Service
We know people will donate food every week if someone visits their home. We also know, with the inauguration of Mayor Rothschild’s One Can A Meeting program that offices all over town collect or would like to collect food but they do not have the know-how or the way, for that matter, to deliver their donations to the Community Food Bank. It is just such a hassle for them.

The Community Food Bank does pick up food but they have schedules and cannot act quickly, if at all, to random calls for pick up service especially if those donations are under 50 lbs.

The Mayor is spreading the word that food donations can and should be collected in city and business offices around town. His office calls me to pick up those donations. Recently I heard from Heather Thrall in the City of Tucson, Planning and Development Services Department. After I arranged the donation pick she sent me an email, “I commend you for your service to this community, it's beyond kind and very needed.”

Presentation to Schools, Churches and Clubs
Now that One Can A Week has an impressive track record it is time to contact and make presentations to organizations around town. All this requires is printed brochures, gas money and a reliable vehicle.

Current Costs and Expenditures
Several years ago Quaker Foods gave me a $500 grant which covered gas and signage for the Cabriolet and volunteer hand carts. Also a friend gave me a 1992 Ford Taurus which lasted several years. It had to be junked recently. He also provided an HP Laptop. Another friend gave $150 for gas, auto repair and printing expenses. Everything else I about $400 from teaching the computer.

How a Sponsor Can Help
At this juncture, a $1,000 per month sponsorship would meet all of my needs allowing me to pay for auto insurance, auto maintenance, gas, brochures and the like. I built One Can A Week to what it is today on my social security income, imagine what I can do with a little more revenue.

What is the Benefit for a Sponsor?
There’s good will for you, your company or organization, of course, but just as important is the fact that you are supporting the engine of a very successful and unique community service program, not just giving money to an established charitable organization.

As with all One Can A Week participants, you will receive quarterly reports on how your “charitable investment” is doing.

If you become a sponsor and you deem it appropriate, the name of your company or organization will appear in the Weekly Email Update, the blog websites and on all One Can A Week promotional materials and signage.


Community Food Bank Receipt



One Can A Week Quarterly Report
 

SPECIAL NOTE: Please make checks payable to Peter G. Norback and mail to: 1428 E. Miles Street, Tucson, AZ 85719.

One Can A Week is not a business entity and does not have a checking account. One Can A Week is a charity concept in the public domain.





Tuesday, November 13, 2012

201st Week Update - Miles Neighborhood Food Collection Project

Hi Folks,
Williams Center dentist
takes a bite out of hunger


“Hi, Peter, How are you?” the man said as he stuck out his hand. He was dressed in a sharp U of A Football fan outfit with big “A” sun glare stickers under his eyes. Those things were hard to ignore. I found myself staring at them all the while we talked.

It was Saturday morning at the Rincon Market and I was deeply engaged in rolling coins from the past week’s donations. As I stood up to shake the man’s hand I suddenly recognized him. It was my dentist, Dr. Su-Wen Chang.

I have a deep respect for this man for two reasons: He’s a highly skilled dentist and he also has a very charming chairside manner. Before he ever says “open wide” he takes a few minutes just to talk. He knows about One Can A Week and he remembers our conversations. I’m always amazed at his ability to picks up right where we left off even if it’s been many months since I’ve had an appointment. I don’t know about you, but I can’t even get my close friends to do that.

Dr. Chang said that he just had a birthday and he told his staff that instead of gifts he wanted everyone to donate to the Community Food Bank through One Can A Week. He suggested I call Carmen, his receptionist … and everything else important at the front desk for that matter … to set up a time to pick up the donations.

When I arrived to make the pick up, Dr. Chang greeted and escorted me back to the lunch room. There on the floor were a half dozen stuffed shopping bags. It took three of us to carry them to my car.

With my disdain for suffering of any kind, I love going to the dentist because I know within an hour or so of plopping down in the chair my troubles will be behind me. And with the way Dr. Chang takes care of me, I’m now finding that I even enjoy getting the bill in the mail. It’s turned from a reminder of a financial obligation to a thought of a friend I care a great deal about.

Everyone needs a dentist but everyone needs a Dr. Chang more. Please give him a call the next time a tooth starts to take over your life. (520) 748-8186.

My Kingdom for an Alternator

The battery and alternator light started to wink at me on Monday. Not too often and not with any regularity. Initially I thought the battery cable had shimmied loose. It had but did not solve the problem of blinking warning lights. Then a few days later those two red lights came on and stayed on. And as in the past my considerate Cabriolet was just a few blocks from home allowing me to park in my driveway and sigh in relief. (Notice the Cabriolet resting in the background.)

That was Friday and enough time to get a new alternator but my SS ship does not come in for four more days. This means I was forced to create a new way of collecting the food. The answer turned out to be a hand truck, a duct taped plastic bin and a comfortable pair of shoes.

About half way through my rounds on Sunday I walked up to Aaron’s front porch, hand truck in tow. Immediately he asked me, “What happened to the Cabriolet?” I told him and he said without hesitation, “Oh, you now have a Cabrioleg.”

That was a really funny thing to say and it made me chuckle. What do shrinks say? “If you can name it, you can live with the situation.” Well, I now have a Cabrioleg, not a hand truck and a taped on bin. All is good.
Photo Direction by Mike Eddy

Early Thanksgiving
This year and for the last two years, Kristin Broksas my friend and former neighbor has cooked up a terrific Thanksgiving dinner by herself. And all she asks of her guests is for them to bring a food donation for the Community Food Bank.

Since I had transportation problems, I could not attend this year’s epicurean delight so Kristin delivered the donations she generated to my home on Sunday. Obviously the festivities were a huge success because the food her guest brought stuffed a 3-foot long fabric grocery bag.

This I know. The food and the conversation is the best at Kristin’s Thanksgiving dinner. I also know this … next year I going to have a backup transportation plan.

We collected a total of 308 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $57.00, a $25.00 check and $27.00 in cash.

Special Note: With the Rincon Market’s 114 lbs. and Catalina Vista’s 88 lbs. One Can A Week accounted for 510 lbs. of food this week. Yes!

See you Sunday,

Peter

Monday, November 5, 2012

200th Week Update - Miles Neighborhood Food Collection Project

Hi Folks,
Best Economic Indicator Ever

There’s the Monthly Jobs Report and the Monthly Housing Starts. They “indicate” what is happening on the national front but seldom mean much to us personally. And since one report has been ticking down lately and the other ticking up, we still do not have a sense of how things are really going.

My economic indicator, donations at the Rincon Market have been running flat all year which means the breakfast, lunch and dinner crowd has been flat, too. Then in September there was a slight increase or tick if you will. The first two weeks in October followed suite. One week later there was a significant jump and that lasted two weeks.

The first week in November saw for the first time since the “Great Recession” began, donations that are on par with what we collected in the past. This is a very exciting “local indication” because it reflects a marked increase in the Rincon Market’s breakfast, lunch and dinner crowd.

And with the election ending and the incredible clean up and repair starting on the east coast money will be flowing into jobs and infrastructure renovation. This will make even more folks hungry for one of those terrific meals at the Rincon Market. And then One Can A Week gets to feed lots of needy families, too.

One final thought on America’s essential auto industry and women and gays and pushy religion … please VOTE today.

Sisterly Love
Lenny, our 12th Street volunteer was all smiles when I picked up his collection this week. He handed me an envelope and when I looked inside I understood his delight.

Last year Patricia Cota-Robles, Lenny’s sister donated $500.00 to the Community Food Bank. Again this year Patricia’s organization, New Age Study of Humanity’s Purpose gave another $500.00 check to the Food Bank.

I appreciate everything Lenny’s does for One Can A Week and I’m glad his sister does, too.

We collected a total of 200 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $564.00, $550.00 in checks and $14.00 in cash.

PS. Of little note or little importance, we collected 200 lbs. of food in our 200th week.

See you Sunday,

Peter



Monday, October 29, 2012

199th Week Update - Miles Neighborhood Food Collection Project

Hi Folks,
More Than A Month of Sundays


The first knock on the door was at 11:30 am on Sunday, January 11, 2009. A few minutes later my neighbor Beth said yes and became the first participant in our One Can A Week program.

Since then it has been “a month of Sundays” as my friend Ed Altamirano on Miles reminded me. Actually, it’s been 6.6 months of Sundays. Of course, Week 200 is next week and most folks like to celebrate even numbers but to me 199 just seems to have more weight; more significance.

When this year ends in two months we will have set new donation records in the Miles Neighborhood and the Rincon Market. Same neighborhood and same store with the same consistent participants but the amount of giving increases year after year without mentioning a word of encouragement to anyone. Barbara, Lenny, Kym and I just show up week after week. Isn’t that how it should be? We really don’t have to be told to look out for each other do we?

Chased Down Again Arturo on Miles donates now and then but there is always way more than one can in the shopping bag that hangs on his front gate. Even though there was no bag this Sunday, it must have been one of those “now” days because Arturo drove up to me just before I turned onto Manlove.

I told him I was about to finish up and I would stop by. And there it was the bulging bag on the front gate. You know, I have to say now and then, that’s the perfect way to end a day.

We collected a total of 194 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $59.30, a $50.00 check and $9.35 in cash.

See you Sunday,

Peter

Monday, October 22, 2012

198th Week Update - Miles Neighborhood Food Collection Project

Hi Folks,

Two Different Stories with the Same Ending
Children Have
All of the Answers
We Are Looking For

Photo by Molly Thrasher
Rebecca Lipson, the middle school science teacher at the Miles School started One Can A Week three years ago. In the beginning she had to think of all kinds of creative ways to keep the interest up in the community service program for both her students and their parents. She initiated trips to the Food Bank, constructed a paper tree and leaves on the wall in the hallway; even taught her students how to convert ounces to pounds to tally the weight of the food collections.

It all paid off last week. As I was carting the latest weekly collection to the Cabriolet with the help of Tiffany Kassel, the teacher now responsible for One Can A Week, Rebecca came up to us all smiles.

With excited gestures, Rebecca explained her latest project of decorating the front entrance of the school with a huge mosaic mural depicting community involvement. When she asked for suggestions on what to include, the first idea was One Can A Week. “They came up with it themselves,” Rebecca beamed, “I was so pleased.”

Rebecca was delighted because One Can A Week or simply helping others is now a part of their every day thinking. The program is working well every week with this week’s collection amounting to 68 lbs. of food and $40.00 in cash. This means the kids are reminding themselves and their parents to bring food to the school weekly and make a donation to the hungry.

The current trend is if the food is not picked up at the home, donations fall off precipitously after the first week or so because folks forget. This is happening to Mayor Rothschild’s One Can A Meeting program.

But when kids are encouraged and trained to think of others every week, they take that message to heart, stay involved and encourage others around them to participate.

Another example of kids making a huge difference is the nonsmoking campaign where they talked to their folks about quitting. It was good for the children—they won’t start smoking—and their parents may quit, eliminating second hand smoke in their home. Again, good for the children.

If we want a better world for our children to inherit, then it is up to us to teach them successful patterns of behavior instead of them trying to figure things out when they become adults.

We were the beneficiaries of that laissez faire kind of thinking when we were kids and look how that turned out for us. Let’s be real parents and teachers like Rebecca and Tiffany, and put in the hard work now because we really do love our kids.

An Indian Head Penny
For Your Thoughts

Everything today is a lottery. When something happens to us—good, like finding a wallet or bad, like being hit by a car—we immediately think about how much money will come our way.

And that mentality is so ingrained in our society that stories about cab drivers or trash haulers who returned found money make front page news. Such stories shouldn’t be the exception. They should be the expected.

On Saturday while wrapping the change at the Rincon Market I spotted an Indian Head penny in the coin separator machine. It was no great feat because the coin is convex or bent. When I saw what it was, I have to tell you, I knew it was more valuable than a penny and then the lottery bell went off in my brain.

As everyone else in the 99%, I need things. Those things are more related to One Can A Week, but I still need/want things.

I resolved to check it out on the web as soon as I get home. They have computers at the Rincon Market but I didn’t want to get anyone else involved. See, I too, have lotteryitis.

After wrapping the coins I had time to just sit and think and conjure the “chain of custody” of the penny, trying to worm my way in. The coin belonged to the customer who donated it to the Rincon Market who in turn would buy food with the money. That food is then delivered to the Community Food Bank. I’m just a conduit. Even if no one knows or sees anything I am still a conduit.

My dad who majored in philosophy would be so proud of my thought process because he spent the time to teach me to think with my intellect, not with emotions and self interest.

Of course I still looked up the value of the coin on the internet. The second website I visited had a terrific Indian Head Penny Value Chart. It covered every year the coin was minted from 1859 to1909. By the time I got to 1907 I passed 1873 where a circulated penny was valued at $1,000 and an uncirculated penny, $8,000. At 1888 my eyes bulged at $4,000 and $24,000.

Things got back to normal very quickly as I scanned 1907. The value was $1.80 and $20.00.

At that point I decided to put $2.00 in the Rincon Market kitty and the coin in my pocket as a reminder that what you teach your children lasts a lifetime. If you teach your children nothing, that last a lifetime, too.

One-stop Giving
A 12th Street neighbor asked Barbara Farragut if the Food Bank took clothing. She called and they do. However, non food donations sit in storage until an organization like Goodwill or the Salvation Army stops by.

So instead of our neighbors’ goods taking up space at the Food Bank, we deliver those non food donations directly to Goodwill which is near the post office on South Cherry.

We may be One Can A Week, but we are glad to help our neighbors donate more than just food to those in need.

We collected a total of 160 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $7.05 in cash.

See you Sunday,

Peter





Monday, October 15, 2012

197th Week Update - Miles Neighborhood Food Collection Project

Hi Folks,

Senior Companions Celebrate Another
One Can A Week Anniversary

For the second year in a row, Fran Coleman, director of the Senior Companions program for Our Family Services invited me to present One Can A Week certificates of appreciation to their volunteers at the annual recognition luncheon. Even Congressman Raul Grijalva and Mayor Rothschild stopped by to congratulate the volunteers so the Senior Companions program is kind of a big deal here in Tucson.


Last year Senior Companions gave more than 48,000 hours of in-home assistance to frail and disable older folks. The in-home part is very important because people always do better when they are in familiar surrounds.

Before the ceremonies began, Fran told me that she asked the volunteers if they wanted to continue their involvement with One Can A Week and all agreed to participate for another year. This meant that the only person in the room not involved with One Can A Week was Congressman Raul Grijalva. Guess I’ll give him a call right after the election.



 Personal Note

Wasn’t Fooled by the Pepsi Challenge Either



If you watch MSNBC on the internet for more than 15 minutes you will be treated to a commercial touting the search results of Bing over Google.

Now I love Microsoft’s applications especially Word, Internet Explorer, Excel and so much more. I also love Google. I have ever since I discovered them soon after they hit the internet. Right from the beginning their results were more intelligent and thorough. Instead of two or three results before they threw in other related websites based on your keywords, Google goes deep with ten or more specific results.

Seldom do I choose the first search result so as you can imagine, I never click the “Feeling lucky” button.

After listening to a dozen or more of the Bing ads, I decided to take the challenge.

I figured I’d choose once and it would be all over. But no, they kept me around for five tries. I typed in those searches most important to me … my neighborhood, feeding the hungry and a very important client. (See graphic above.)

Like the Pepsi Challenge moving the cups around, Bing kept on changing the position of the search results. It’s either left or right. I just chose the deepest results, meaning the column with the most websites related to my keywords. After five tries they showed me my results … and their disclaimer. They said I “may have won this round” but others picked Bing. What do they mean, may have won? Are they politicians? I won and they printed the winning tally.

I still love Microsoft and I still love Google. Bing? Nah!

“It’s my party so bring a can if you want to” Not quite the lyrical rhythm of Leslie Gore’s famous 60’s song title, but today’s kids are more into helping folks than crying the blues.

As I drove down Miles on my route Sunday, Dan, Debbie and their daughter Anne pulled up beside me. Anne was in the backseat and eager to do all of the talking. “I asked everyone to bring a can to my party and we left a big box of food on our porch.” Then she smiled as her dad pressed on the accelerator.

There was a lot of food and I knew right away that we were going to be way over our 167 lb. average this week.

We collected a total of 196 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $57.00, a $50.00 check and $7.00 in cash.

See you Sunday,

Peter