Monday, March 12, 2012

166th Week Update - Miles Neighborhood Food Collection Project

Hi Folks,
What a Great Meeting
Bill Carnegie, CEO of the Community Food Bank holds a proof sheet for the soon-to-be- published Miles Neighborhood One Can A Week 11 x 17 poster of participants. There are so many folks photographed with the Community Food Bank award plate Bill gave me a few weeks ago, it made us both smile.

Photo by Molly Thrasher
We had an agenda for today’s half hour meeting with Bill Carnegie at his office but soon after I read the statement “None of the proposed programs below need involve or burden current Community Food Bank programs,” the discussion fell into free form. Even Molly Thrasher who was there to shoot the delivery of Miles’ weekly food donation and be introduced for a later interview with Bill, joined in to help me make a few salient points.

I opened with those words because Bill runs a tight, efficient and austere ship. There is such a high demand for food now that no new program can encroach on their current manpower or revenues.

I introduced a project called The Red Umbrella Corps, which is solely based on the success and weekly averages of One Can A Week in the past three years. In a nutshell, we have donated 229 lbs. of food and $50.18 in cash over 156 straight weeks. If he could help support and encourage others to begin a One Can A Week program in their neighborhoods, the end result would be more than 17 millions pounds of food and nearly $4 million in revenues annually.

The numbers break down like this. There are 300,000 plus homes in Tucson, not counting apartments. If, as in the Miles neighborhood, there is a 50% participation rate, that would require 1,500 folks visiting 100 homes each Sunday to pick up the donations.

At this juncture, Molly said that during her interviews for the video, several participants said they started out giving just one can a week but as time progressed, they upped their anti to two or three. This is why the number of participants stays the same but the yearly donations steadily increase.

Bill’s reaction was quite positive as evidenced by his smile in the photo that was taken at the end of our meeting. He had to hurry off to a conference call but said he wanted to get together soon, maybe for a cup of coffee at the Rincon Market this Saturday where we could have more time to talk.

Something is in the air with respect to One Can A Week. Molly contacted us because she wants to show folks though her short video the amazing problem solving ability of community service.

Bill, too, was visibly moved by the story we can tell with our One Can A Week success. And just tonight, I got an email from a political science student at a West Virginia university who requested information because her class is starting a One Can A Week program and she needs comparative data.

I love colleting food from my neighbors every Sunday to feed the hungry, but I have to say, sticking and staying feels pretty good, too. 

 Hannah and Ari Back in the News
Hannah inspects the local Red Cross Food Pantry before
makingher delivery.
Now that’s much better. Check out the food added to the first
and second shelf. Even the fourth shelf is puffed up.
Six-year-old Hannah and her dad Ari, who live in New Jersey, are out of the snow this week but they are still setting a great example. The photos above show how hard they are working to help the folks in their community. In fact, their efforts have inspired their neighbors to get involved.

A girl scout troop of fourth graders, sixteen girls in all, has decided to collect food for the month of April. Each scout will collect two cans from their neighbors and add two to the pile themselves. This means at the end of April they will have a total of 192 cans.

Let’s hope these girls have so much fun helping others that they decide to do it again …every month.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask
Christina hesitantly asked me if the Community Food Bank takes baby food. A family member’s baby suddenly became allergic to his Similac baby formula. Of course, they do. They can distribute any human food or pet food or even personal care products like soap and toothpaste. Look at how many Similac formula canisters cover the top of the shopping cart. In addition, there are a dozen or so glass baby food jars below.

We collected a total of 174 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $7.50 in cash.

See you Sunday,


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