Monday, July 30, 2012

186th Week Update - Miles Neighborhood Food Collection Project

Hi Folks,
“Good start for one week”

One week and one day after we met with Mayor Rothschild about starting his own personal community service program One Can A Meeting, he sent me an email that read in part, “I delivered boxes this week to … Providence … TEP … Lewis and Roca … PICOR and … ATC. They all agreed to participate.” That was on Friday, July 20th. (See below to learn more about these companies.)

On Wednesday, the 25th, I called all of the participants and they already had program coordinators in place. In a week I will meet with them individually and go over all of the facets of the program. Actually, it not too dissimilar to what we do. You know, you put out a can and I pick it up each week.

For the Mayor’s participants, all they do is put a tag in their executive emails that says something like, “We are participating in Mayor Jonathan Rothschild’s One Can A Meeting personal community service program. We would like to encourage everyone who meets with us in our offices to bring and donate one can of food to the Community Food Bank. Thank you.”

For their staff members, they simply announce the CEO’s participation in the Mayor’s personal community service program in newsletters and posted flyers. The message is that the Community Food Bank box is located in the executive offices and a One Can A Week donation would be greatly appreciated.

The staff will like—and definitely enjoy—the fact that they can now easily get involved in a community service project on a consistent basis and that their participation will be noticed by the management team.

Then it’s up to me to pick up the food every week at these companies to keep the energy going. I can do that!

Mayor Rothschild closed his email with: “Good start for week one, I would say.”

If you asked me, I would say “Incredible start.”

- - - - - - - -
First major participants in Mayor Rothschild’s One Can A Meeting personal community service program for the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.

Arizona Theatre Company (ATC) is the preeminent professional theatre in the state of Arizona.”

Lewis and Roca serves businesses in some of the fastest-growing communities in the Southwest” … with “offices, located in Phoenix, Tucson, Albuquerque, Las Vegas, Reno and Silicon Valley.”

PICOR is Tucson’s leading independently owned, full-service commercial real estate company.”

Providence specializes in providing direct services and case management to children, adolescents and young adults with behavioral health needs and those supervised by government subsidized programs.”

TEP is the second-largest investor-owned utility in Arizona and the largest corporation headquartered in Southern Arizona.”
- - - - - - - -
A real neighborly new neighbor
We all have been wondering who will buy the old Red Cross Building on Cherry Street. Well, we don’t have to do that any more. He is Jarrett Reidhead of Tucson Integrity Realty LLC. He manages two other properties in the Miles Neighborhood as well.

Jarrett contacted Andrew and me to say he is totally approachable and would love to hear your concerns and comments about the property with respect to weeds and graffiti. Or anything else you might have in mind.

Please send me an email and I will be happy to forward it to Jarrett or visit his website Tucson Integrity Realty LLC. And come September 19th, Jarrett would like to meet all of the Miles neighbors in our first Miles Neighborhood meeting of the season.

Maybe the economy is getting better.

Neighborhood Crier
Lorraine Aguilar stepped out of her front door as I approached. “I’ve been waiting for you. Tell me about the dog attack.”

I told her the White Pit Bull and the Brown Boxer are in the pound and the guy who lives in the Arroyo Chico Apartments was bitten on his arm and leg and is recovering along with his pup. It doesn’t look good for the dogs because they need to be fixed, licensed and trained. And they have been involved in other attacks.

Lorraine also wanted to know what to do with old magazines she collects. I said I’d look into that. Lastly, she was glad to hear someone is buying the Red Cross Building.

I’m a big fan of the Internet, but for folks like Lorraine, it’s always a pleasure to give them the neighborhood news standing on their front porch every Sunday morning.

We collected a total of 168 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $26.00, a $25.00 check and $1.00 in cash.

See you Sunday.


Monday, July 23, 2012

185th Week Update - Miles Neighborhood Food Collection Project

Hi Folks,
The Authority to Make Real Change

Great Meeting, Wonderful Photo – We were all smiles after Mayor Jonathan Rothschild (center) placed his order for 30 Community Food Bank boxes. On the left is Karla Avales-Soto an Aide to the Mayor, Dot Kret, owner of DK Advocates and friend of the Mayor and me, the guy who is trying to figure out a way to get 30 new white boxes delivered in two hours.
Photo by Lisa Markkula, Communications Director
Every president since JFK has suggested we all get involved in community service. Like most folks, I didn’t. Then President Obama asked me and I did.

It wasn’t until Mayor Rothschild wanted those “30 boxes” last week that I finally understood why I created One Can A Week and why I am so committed to its success.

President Obama was a professional community organizer and he is now a world authority figure. I, like most folks, have a deep respect for authority. So when a leader with real world experience suggests I do something, I’m listening very hard. After all, my teachers, my parents and my friends told me things and I listened and I changed. The truth is, people in authority have made my life so much better.

So when Mayor Rothschild decided to create his own personal One Can A Meeting program I immediately saw and understood all of the ramifications of his action. That is what overwhelmed me at first. We have the top executive in a major metropolitan city suggest other top executives donate a can to the Community Food Bank when they meet in his office. Of course they will. It is the respectful thing to do.

Then the Mayor will ask many of them if they would like to participate in his program as he strives to end hunger in Tucson. Of course they will. It is the respectful thing to do.

It has only been one week since the Mayor began his program and five top executives from five top companies in the city are with him. They are: Providence Service Corp., Lewis & Roca, Tucson Electric Power, PICOR and The Arizona Theater Company.

What these companies don’t understand yet is the benefits they will derive from helping the Mayor meet his goal. When they tell everyone in their employ that they have a large Community Food Bank box in their executive offices, those employees will understand that they now have a very valid reason to visit the executive offices once a week to donate a can. In actuality it is an open invitation to see and be next to the source of power in their company.

For the staff as they donate one can each week and pay their respects to management, they will get that the gesture is a way to be seen and become more than a face or a number. The company esprit de corps will grow week after week after week and the needy will be fed, too.

To look at it another way, the overlying theme or idea in the Mayor’s program to eliminate hunger in Tucson is the word “respect” which is a dominate feature of our hierarchical business structure. The concept is simple like One Can A Week, but it is one thing more … brilliant.

That’s what I saw when the Mayor said, “get me 30 boxes and have them here early this afternoon.” I saw a whole city become and stay engaged in community service just as my neighbors in the Miles Neighborhood have done for the past 185 weeks … one can, one week at a time.

Jack Parris Helps Me Make the Media Rounds

Jack Parris, Peter, Ann Lauricello and Tatiana
Bustamante on KGUN 9 Morning Blend.
Jack is the Public Relations Manager at the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. A short time ago I stopped by his office and gave him a copy of our Miles Neighborhood plate poster. He looked at the poster for a moment and said. “Let me see what I can do with this.”

The next thing I know, he sends me an email with a media schedule. July 16th on KGUN 9 Morning Blend and July 23rd on The Bill Buckmaster Show. The best part, he was going with me.

On both interviews, Jack took charge. That was comforting like being back in school in a speech class when the kid sitting next to you gets called on first.

The Bill Buckmaster Show with
Bill Buckmaster airs weekdays on KVOI 1030 AM
weekdays from 12:00 - 1PM.
“I’d just like to jump in,” Jack began, “and say, we get a lot of people coming to us with ideas … helping to raise food and things like that. In fact, most of our food is collected by third parties. But through a mutual friend of ours, Mike Bolchalk in the advertising business here in town … he sent us Peter one day. We listened to Peter and it was a very simple idea and Peter was so enthusiastic about it we said it must work.”

Well … after hearing my name a couple of time, in addition to some one and two word compliments, I was ready to speak myself. Click on the link to the KGUN 9 interview with Morning Blend’s Ann Lauricello and Tatiana Bustamante.

Chased by Rain Drops
The clouds threatened throughout most of the late morning and early afternoon. I have to pay attention to the rumblings in the sky because the Cabriolet’s convertible top is also a bit of a sieve.

After lunch I headed out only to cut my route short when the rain drops began to cover my windshield. Following a 20 minute wait at home, I declared it a false alarm, yanked the tarp off the car and hurriedly finished my run.

We collected a total of 156 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $6.50 in cash. No checks this week.

See you Sunday,


Monday, July 16, 2012

184th Week Update - Miles Neighborhood Food Collection Project

Hi Folks,
Just a small change will work
Mayor Jonathan Rothschild
Food Comes to Call
Rosa Parks stood up just by sitting down. I think about that a lot. A small, almost imperceptible gesture or change in the path of the rushing river of human behavior can alter its course forever.
Whenever I present One Can A Week I keep telling folks, just do a little and just do what is easy and natural.

On Thursday, Dot Kret and I met with Mayor Jonathan Rothschild in his conference room. Karla Avales-Soto, a Mayor’s Aide, greeted us at the front desk and led the way. At 10 am sharp Mayor Rothschild entered and sat at the head of the table which was about 5 feet from where he entered.

His demeanor was very friendly and yet controlled. We got right to business. After explaining a little bit about One Can A Week I handed him our Community Food Bank plate poster which he perused throughout the meeting. He knows our neighborhood and a number of our neighbors.

“What can I do to help?” Mayor Rothschild asked.

For weeks I had thought long and hard about that question I knew he’d ask. And it wasn’t until the day before the meeting that I had an idea. On the way home I stopped at Dot’s office to get her reaction.

“How about if the mayor puts a huge Community Food Bank collection box in his office and he makes it know that everyone who comes to a meeting in his office is encouraged to bring a can of food. Do you know how many people he meets with? Do you know how powerful most of those folks are?

Dot liked the idea immediately. And to my surprise, so did the mayor when I told him.

“Get me 30 boxes by early this afternoon, he said.

I was startled and had a difficult time listening to his directive and writing a note to myself at the same time. Flustered is perhaps a better word.

I did not even have a change to explain to him the second half of the idea when he jumped into the conversation. 30 boxes … holy cow!

What I finally said was since he is the top government executive and he gets to meet in his office with all of the other business and government executives in the city, perhaps he can ask them to do what he is doing. His goal will be to eliminate hunger in Tucson from the top down.

As I delivered the boxes with Miguel’s help from the Food Bank a young lady stopped to says she is going to start donating one can a week at the office. I told her so will most of the visitors.

“What happens if they forget? she wondered.

“Well,” I replied, “the mayor might say, ‘You know, I don’t hear very well if there is no food.’ ”

She gave a hearty laugh and walked away gesturing “go away” with her hand.

In the late afternoon as the excitement I was feeling began to wane I got my thoughts together about what had just happened. Then as etiquette dictates, I sent Mayor Rothschild my impressions of our meeting.

“The most enjoyable and exciting aspect of our meeting this morning was trying to catch all of the workable ideas you were tossing out on the table. I thought I was back in New York City where the game is played that way all of the time. I sure miss those heady days in the Big Apple but I now know where to go when I need to rev up my brain.”

With Mayor Rothschild helping our One Can A Week program—in a small, Rosa Parks way by simply encouraging other top executives to follow his lead—he could and probably will end hunger here in Tucson. We think about food all of the time because that is what creatures on this planet do. If Mayor Rothschild has his way, we will be thinking about food for hungry families and their children all of the time, too.

Business is the business of America
and the best way to solve our social ills.

John Abbott, the son of Ron Abbott, the owner of the Rincon Market is the man in charge of the grocery side of the business. For the past year he has been tweaking product pricing and even added new low price lines to stimulate business.

Our deal is he allows One Can A Week to collect money at the cash register and in turn, we buy food for the Community Food Bank in his grocery store. John just told me Saturday that One Can A Week has helped him weather the recession with our weekly purchases—between $102 and $160—and these sales encouraged him to rethink his product line to attract more student business.

He added Goya beans, pasta, rice and vegetables, quality products that cost around $1.00 each. This is what I buy mostly and it gives me more poundage for the buck. Last year the Rincon Market donated over 4,000 lbs. This year they are heading for 5,500 lbs.

John is currently looking at ordering other low-cost products and reducing prices on standard items he carries. In the beginning, the Abbott Family just wanted to help feed hungry families and their kids. Today, feeding those families is part of their business strategy and they are currently creating a better way to feed even more families.

Business really is the answer to solving many of society’s problems and now John and his family are showing us how it’s done.

One Can A Week is Contagious
Delia, who lives in the Arroyo Chico apartments, asked to participate in One Can A Week a couple of years ago. Turns out Frank, her close friend across the street encouraged her.

One Sunday some time later all of Delia’s close neighbors were outside when I showed up and after asking what was going on, they too, decided to participate. (The red umbrellaed Cabriolet helped pique their curiosity, of course.)

Now we have five Arroyo Chico families hanging a bag of food on their door knob every Sunday.

We collected a total of 188 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $56.00, two $25.00 checks and $6.00 in cash.

See you Sunday,


Monday, July 9, 2012

183rd Week Update - Miles Neighborhood Food Collection Project

Hi Folks,
Hungry for Ideas
Research for Thursday’s Mayor Rothschild meeting

Beyond Bread lunch with Terri Contapay, (left) Peter,
Frank Fresch and John Gallow.

With their “no solicitation” rules Home Owner Associations are a unique bump in the road when it comes to expanding our One Can A Week program. However, I met with three folks last Thursday who are successfully making inroads into their Home Owner Associations. Terri Contapay and Frank Fresch live in the Old Ft. Lowell neighborhood. Terrie sets up a special red wagon near the mail boxes once a week

Frank asks folks to bring a can of food to the Home Owner Association meetings. They do not go door to door because that is a little distasteful to them. Of course they were also disappointed with the minimal response they are getting. They feel embarrassed approaching their neighbors. I suggested that that was one of the reasons for the decline in community interaction.

I told them about meeting with the Mayor and the possibility of starting The Red Umbrella Corps which they would automatically attain charter member status. Terri liked that and said something interesting. She would knock on her neighbors’ doors “if she had more power” and The Red Umbrella Corps would give her that power.

John, who is a professional salesman and lives in Ventana Canyon said he knows about the insecure feelings Frank and Terri are experiencing. He suggested they talk to their neighbors as they walk their dogs in the neighborhood or at neighborhood gatherings. And instead of placing a box some place why not say, “Listen, would it be okay if I stop by your house Saturday and pick up some food for the food bank. I can do that every Saturday.”

It’s a slow build which fits right into our One Can A Week philosophy. Go slowly, be consistent and very considerate.

I love that idea and I’m now ready for the Mayor if he asks how we approach Home Owner Associations. Frank and Terri like that idea, too, and I think they are going to try it.

Dot is a very strategic thinker. So our breakfast meeting Saturday morning at the Rincon Market was challenging and fun. I know all about One Can A Week so it’s how we present our program to the mayor will make or break us.

Dot’s big question to me was, “How do you see yourself in the program? Are you looking for a job? Do you want to run it?”

Told you she is strategic.

“Heck, no,” I said. “I’m an idea person and I can make a pilot program work. But running a big organization is not in my skill set. That is why I want the Mayor to take over. He runs a big city. He can run One Can A Week easily.”

Rincon Market breakfast with Dot Kret and Peter.
Just before we took this photo, Don Overall handed me a
dollar for One Can A Week and I handed him a camera.
Photo by Don Overall.
Besides the tasty eggs and sweet roll, my words got the meeting off to a great start.
In essence, what I want to demonstrate with our One Can A Week program is that citizens along with the government can work together to solve most of our social ills. Citizens provide the brains and muscle and the government provides brains and efficient, big time project management.

With our current cynical political attitude most of you are laughing by now. But we have shown that we can partner to build things. In 1956, I was a kid and remember what the roads were like in this country. Then the crews hit he streets and fields and mountains. What a system those guys built … together.

In New York City, Mayor Bloomberg is taking the same approach…making decisions to make New Yorkers’ lives better. No more
transfats, no more smoking in buildings and no more 44 oz. sugar drinks. (You can have all of the 44 oz. diet drinks you want.)

He’s building a healthy American city. And like President Eisenhower who also built a healthy America, Mayor Rothschild can eliminate hunger here in Tucson and build vibrant, committed community service neighborhoods at the same time.

On the citizen side, thousands upon thousands of Tucsonans will gladly jump into The Red Umbrella Corps program to help because we know they all want their city to be famous for something other than supermarket shootings and “Papers, please” laws.

Together we can do some good!

More Than One Can A Week
First there was Sarah and Parker who donated a lot of good quality canned dog food. Then Ed had potatoes and Barbara her usual load of bananas. After lunch Councilman Fimbres and his wife Mary had pound upon pound of beans and juice. When Kym showed up with a watermelon our donations jumped across the 200 lb. mark.

We collected a total of 247 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $31.50, a $25.00 check and $6.50 in cash.

See you Sunday,


Monday, July 2, 2012

182nd Week Update - Miles Neighborhood Food Collection Project

Hi Folks,
The Good and The Bad
Dot Did It!
In the past few weeks I asked a number of my friends to tell their Facebook friends to vote for DK Advocates. The Miles Neighborhood firm was trying to qualify for a $250,000 small business grant offered by Chase. Dot Kret owner of DK Advocates needed 250 votes. I noticed on Thursday that she had 261 and sent her an email. She replied:

“Yippee! We passed the 250 mark yesterday at about 4.”

So thanks everyone for helping me help my friend Dot. You’re the best.

What Tangled Webs They Weave
A gentleman holding a clipboard stood in front of my table at the Rincon Market last Saturday morning. He was gathering signatures. I asked him for what and he told me he was helping his friend Robert Medler to qualify for a seat on the Tucson Unified School Board. I said sure, why not.

He asked about One Can A Week and after a few minutes he introduced himself. He was Bill Holmes, Chief Operating Office of the Tucson Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.

We talked about business and how business should really jump in and help solve some of our social ills. He agreed and told me his organization encourages and promotes getting the job done without partisan bickering.

This opened the door for a story or two about Starbucks COE Howard Schultz who is pushing for congress to get on with creating jobs. And, too, the capitalist side of One Can A Week where Rincon customers drop money into a big jar and I buy Rincon Market food with that money to donate to the Community Food Bank.

We were having such a great discussion I flagged a friend down and had him sign Bill’s petition. I even volunteered to get a few more signatures Sunday when I made my rounds.

Since I come from New York, I’ve got this trust but verify thing coursing through my veins. Within a couple of minutes on Google I found a very straight forward news article on the Range which is published by the Tucson Weekly.

The headline, TUSD Governing Board Candidate Update told me this was going to be boring. And it was until the third paragraph.

“Out of the 54 candidates interviewed by the committee only one potential conflict was brought up to the Range — Candidate Robert Medler, VP of government affairs at the Tucson Metropolitan Changer of Commerce.”

Well … Turns out Bill Holmes is Mr. Medler’s boss and Bill used to work for Dr. Linda Arzoumanian, Superintendent – Pima County Schools.

In the last paragraph of the story we learn that Mr. Medler was charged with a felony during his college days for a theft at a club where he was a member but all charges were dropped. It was his first offence and he completed a “deferred prosecution program.”

I can hear it now.

“What’s your problem, he doesn’t have any convictions.”

“Yes, you are right,” you’d hear me say, “he doesn’t have any convictions at all. And that is the problem.”

I called and left a message on Bill Holmes phone. I’m out.

Jamie’s Ride is Back
In late May, a drunk drive slammed into both Bill’s and Jamie’s parked cars. When I stopped by Sunday, Jamie’s silver truck was parked in front of their home all shiny and new again. Bill was nearby clipping dead palm branches. Of course our conversation turned to insurance and its many good and bad points.

When I left I shifted my quarterly report flyers and dropped my Scotch tape dispenser on the sidewalk. It shattered into a number of pieces.

“Call the insurance company,” I said turning to face Bill.

“I’m sorry I can’t help you, that’s state property, Bill chuckled.

We both cracked up.

We collected a total of 160 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $51.75, a $25.00 check and $26.75 in cash.

See you Sunday,