Monday, April 23, 2012

172nd Week Update - Miles Neighborhood Food Collection Project

Hi Folks,
The Magnificent Volunteer and Her
Walking Machine

(Not unlike The Magnificent Men and Their
Flying Machines but more down to earth.)
A small piece of history was made Sunday when Steve Fuhrig gave his wife an electric walking wagon with a stunningly huge umbrella. No longer will Kym have to carry 4 bottles of water, wear a large floppy hat and squint as she picks up her Sunday One Can A Week donation in the hot desert sun.

On a number of occasions Kym looked a bit overwhelmed by the heat and the workout she gets dragging that loaded yellow wagon slowly behind her. (Her two young grand daughters riding in the wagon along with the food doesn’t help the situation much either.)

But today Kym was next to perky, dry and smiling. It was apparent her new eco-approved electric walking wagon brought some of the fun back into collecting her donations. And it brought back her happy face on a very hot Sunday.

Why is an electrified walking wagon a tiny historic event? Simple. It’s funny, clever and lots of neighbors will want to take it for a walk. This gives our One Can A Week food donation program the kind of attention it deserves

“Hello and A Request”

Go to blog
Surprise emails really make my day. I can’t wait for the next one, but in the meantime I’ll tell you about the email I got last Wednesday evening just before dinner. The subject line put me on guard because it appeared to be a little vague like spam stuff but as soon as I saw who it was from I hurriedly clicked it open.

Sandy Scott is the Acting Director of Public Affairs and Senior Communications Advisor for the Corporation for National and Community Services. That’s Senior Corps and AmeriCorps. That’s Washington, DC. I almost thought I should stand up to read his email. But I didn’t.

“Greetings Peter –

“It’s been a while since we’ve been in touch. I want you to know I read your updates every week. It is inspiring to see the impact of your effort, both in the Miles neighborhood and the similar efforts you have inspired across the country. You’re a great story teller, and your efforts are making a difference for hungry families in Tucson.

“As you probably know, this is National Volunteer Week (April 15-21), a time to recognize and celebrate the nation’s volunteers. Here is a Presidential proclamation and a White House blogpost from our new CEO Wendy Spencer, a lifelong volunteer and volunteer manager.

“As part of National Volunteer Week, we would like to invite you to submit a guest blog post for our National Service blog at This can be 400-500 words, and should recount how you started One Can a Week, include your results to date (pounds of food and cash raised), something on how the idea has spread, and any observations about how one person can make a difference.

“In order to fit this in during National Volunteer Week, we would love to have it by the end of the day tomorrow, if possible, or Thursday morning. I know you are a strong writer, and have written extensively on One Can a Week, so hopefully this won’t be a heavy lift.”

Well, that made me nervous. I had dinner took the dogs for a walk and sat down to write. Sandy’s instructions were soexplicit I finished about 9 and sent the blog off with several photos. Then I got more nervous waiting to hear back.

Thursday evening I received another email saying he liked the piece but wanted to make some changes. That was fine with me. But instead of waiting for the suggestions I told him he should make the revisions he wanted to comply with the web site’s style and formatting. I’m not married to my words, just One Can A Week. They’re professional editors so I just stepped out of the way.

Late afternoon on Friday, Sandy contacted me again.

“Peter – Your blog post is up. You can access it on and the direct link is here:

“Your story is a powerful reminder of what one person or one small group of people can accomplish when they stand up and make a difference. Thank you for your service, and keep up the great work.

“Have a great weekend



Right now there are 26 Likes, 11 Tweets and 0 Share for our One Can A Week post. If we could get just one new neighborhood somewhere in the country collecting food for needy families in their community it would be well worth all the hurry up and jangled nerves.

Everybody’s Back
Two weeks ago the Sunflower Farmers Market on Swan and Speedway started collecting food again. Maria in the Catalina Vista Neighborhood discovered the Food Bank closes at 5 pm, but her ride can’t make it before then. Maybe when she gets her driver’s license, she can take control of her deliveries. Until then, I’ll drop off all 4 donations (Rincon Market, Sunflower, Catalina and Miles) on Monday. This week the combined weight was 390 lbs. Nice.

We collected a total of 168 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $59.50, a $50.00 check and $9.50 in cash.

See you Sunday,


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