Monday, January 9, 2012

157th Week Update - Miles Neighborhood Food Collection Project

Hi Folks,
Nothing Makes You Think about Change
Like A Big Red Umbrella

Last Sunday I knew I needed a new umbrella the moment metal fatigue overwhelmed my old red umbrella as I turned left onto Vine from 12th Street and a flailing support rod bonked me on the head.

Within a few blinks and some head shaking, I figured out what had happened and quickly resolved to spend a little more money on the next red umbrella. For just $10 more I bought a taller, wider and stronger (made of wood not hollow metal rods) red umbrella that will better resist Arizona's intermittent breezes.

Of course, after that incident I decided to pay more attention to nature’s little hints because I truly dislike blows to the cranium. (Now that I think about it that was one of the major reasons I quit soccer as a kid. Being out of breath all of the time was the other reason.)

On Saturday at the Rincon Market, a gentleman stepped up to my display table and asked me if the Food Bank were still in a tough spot. When I told him about the 235,000 folks they service monthly, he reached into his pocket and dropped a $5.00 bill on the donation plate. A short time later as he and his wife were leaving, we struck up another conversation but this time we talked about collecting food in the neighborhoods. She liked the idea and wanted to participate. She asked me if I would begin a program in her Sam Hughes neighborhood.

You need neighbors to do that for you I suggested. But later I thought that for three years I have searched for such neighbors and only a few have taken up the challenge like fifteen-year-old Maria in the Catalina Vista neighborhood.

Maybe this was another one of nature’s red umbrella moment. There must be a way to motivate non-neighbors to gather food donations weekly in neighborhoods across. Tucson. My frustration is I know there are donations there just waiting to be picked up. Fifty percent of the Miles Neighborhood participates so it follows other neighborhoods can do as well or better.

On my way out of the door at the Community Food Bank today I heard a voice call my name. I turned around to see Pauline Hechler, VP of Development walking across the warehouse floor toward me.

Happy New Year and a hug followed. She was on her way to a meeting and I only had a few seconds to talk.

“I’ve been thinking, I’d like to have lunch with you because I need help in formulating a plan to get other neighborhoods involved. Jacob said he gets requests from people looking for projects and perhaps One Can A Week can be that project.”

“Maybe we can have Jacob put those people in touch with you,” Pauline quickly replied.

“No, it really has to be a program affiliated with a major organization,” I said, “like the Peace Corps. Something that is a part of something bigger.’

Then Pauline’s next thought hit me like my old red umbrella, “There is a lot of food out there we just have to pick it up.”

Didn’t I just think that?

Here’s another idea I had. Let’s call the volunteers who fan out in Tucson neighborhoods each Sunday The Red Umbrella Corps. Wait, I bet Pauline already thought of that. Wonder what other ideas she’ll have for me at lunch.

I’m paying attention now.

It Got a Little Personal this Sunday
In addition to the boxes of cereal and bunches of bananas, folks donated some very nice personal items such as shampoos, soaps and tooth paste. (Pictured on the ground to the right.)

We collected a total of 176 lbs. of food plus 8 lbs in non-food items. The money we donated amounted to $31.50, a $25.00 check and $6.50 in cash.

See you Sunday,


No comments:

Post a Comment