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,


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