Monday, June 18, 2012

180th Week Update - Miles Neighborhood Food Collection Project

Hi Folks,
Mayor Rothschild meet Mayor Bloomberg
For more than two months now I have been on a quest to meet Mayor Jonathan Rothschild to tell him about our consistently successful One Can A Week neighborhood food donation program and suggest ways to expand the concept citywide.

My plan is not to sit in his office enthusiastically explaining the idea while he looks at me wondering how a guy who collects cans got into his office. So I decided to elicit help from someone who knows us both, making the meeting more about the idea then a question of trust.

Merle Stolar, an attorney friend I went to high school with back in St. Louis, MO was my first designated volunteer. She knows of and likes the Mayor but she wasn’t even an acquaintance. I then spoke to Ernesto Portillo, Sr. who was delighted to make the introduction. He has known the Mayor and engaged his law firm going back 25 years. So I compiled some information, Ernesto attached an elegant, old school kind of introductory letter and dropped the package off personally at the Mayor’s office.

Nothing. The Mayor must be busy.

Then I asked Dot Kret, the owner of DK Advocates a neighborhood firm and a One Can a Week participant. She knows the Mayor very well and attends many social and political functions with him. Over the past month Dot made a number of forays into the political system and finally on the 13th she sent me an email update on her progress.

“Hi Jonathan-

“What a great victory yesterday – and a lovely celebration last night! It was good to see you and join in the collective sigh of relief over Ron’s win in CD8.

“Here is the latest post from Peter Norback, founder of One Can a Week. As we have discussed, if you can squeeze in 20 min to meet Peter, it would be well worth it. He has an idea for picking up the pace of this food donation program and improving our City and I think you will be interested in hearing about it.

“Please let us know when it is convenient for you and we will meet you where/whenever you like…



Again, Nothing. The Mayor must be really busy.

Then very early Sunday morning the 17th Dot sent me another update.

“…I did see Hizzoner the Mayor last night. He said that at his Friday meeting with his team One Can was discussed and that I will be getting a call this week to schedule our meeting! I mentioned the Bloomberg challenge and he was only vaguely aware of it, so let’s be sure to have lots of details for him. I think it is a fabulous idea and we should go for it!”
“The Mayors Challenge is a competition to inspire
American cities to generate innovative ideas that
solve major challenges and improve city life - and
that ultimately can be shared with cities
across the nation.”
Maybe all this stressful waiting was supposed to happen no matter how I plotted and planned. The Bloomberg Challenge she mentioned was just announced in New York City, the home of Bloomberg Philanthropies, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Wednesday, the 13th. I read about the challenge on CNN and saw immediately how such a competition could elevate the importance and purpose of our meeting with Mayor Rothschild, whenever that happens. After all, we have a three-year pilot program with very strong data and results.

“Bloomberg Philanthropies is inspired by the opportunity
to find and spread innovative local solutions to
national problems. We created the Mayors
Challenge to celebrate the creative problem solving
and incredible innovation that is happening in city
halls from coast to coast. The five boldest ideas
with the greatest potential for impact will win…”
Think about it, based on our weekly donation average—229 lbs. and $50.18—if the Mayor could help us implement One Can A Week in neighborhoods across Tucson, we could generate more than 17 million lbs. of food and over $3.9 million each year. On top of that thousands upon thousands of Tucsonans will be involved in community service and feeding hungry families.

Sunday night while writing this blog I got an email at 9:42 pm from Dorothy Adjovu Executive Assistant to Mayor Jonathan Rothschild.

“Ms. Kret and Mr. Norback,
Mayor will be available to meet with Mr. Norback on July 12th at 10AM.

Ms. Kret, do you plan to attend with Mr. Norback?”

That was short and sweet. I guess the Mayor is not too busy anymore. He deserves a rest anyway.

Votes Keep Coming In

Right now Dot Kret’s DK Advocates has 142 votes in the Chase $250,000 Grant program. Remember, 250 is the number of votes to qualify and all voting ends June 30th. So hurry.

Open your Facebook page and then click on this link:

Type DK Advocates in the Business Name box and hit Search. Find Support at the bottom of the page and click on it. You just voted. Try to get your Facebook friends to vote, too. It’s good practice for this fall.

So Much More
There is a new trainee receptionist at DK Advocates named Mark who handed me a very full box of food Monday. I asked him what happened and he said they—and I’m guessing him—are placing a little more emphasis on getting out the donations.

There was so much food I had to make two trips to my car parked out front. On my return to pick up the last bag, I handed him a gift wrapped One Can A Week can opener. I told him it works well … until it doesn’t.

“Don’t they all,” Mark replied as he turned it over a couple of time in his hand.

Now there’s a man who see things as they really are. It’s apparent he’s using that same kind of common sense logic on his coworkers to encourage their more charitable side.

We collected a total of 212 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $36.50, a $25.00 check and $11.50 in cash.

See you Sunday.


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