Monday, October 22, 2012

198th Week Update - Miles Neighborhood Food Collection Project

Hi Folks,

Two Different Stories with the Same Ending
Children Have
All of the Answers
We Are Looking For

Photo by Molly Thrasher
Rebecca Lipson, the middle school science teacher at the Miles School started One Can A Week three years ago. In the beginning she had to think of all kinds of creative ways to keep the interest up in the community service program for both her students and their parents. She initiated trips to the Food Bank, constructed a paper tree and leaves on the wall in the hallway; even taught her students how to convert ounces to pounds to tally the weight of the food collections.

It all paid off last week. As I was carting the latest weekly collection to the Cabriolet with the help of Tiffany Kassel, the teacher now responsible for One Can A Week, Rebecca came up to us all smiles.

With excited gestures, Rebecca explained her latest project of decorating the front entrance of the school with a huge mosaic mural depicting community involvement. When she asked for suggestions on what to include, the first idea was One Can A Week. “They came up with it themselves,” Rebecca beamed, “I was so pleased.”

Rebecca was delighted because One Can A Week or simply helping others is now a part of their every day thinking. The program is working well every week with this week’s collection amounting to 68 lbs. of food and $40.00 in cash. This means the kids are reminding themselves and their parents to bring food to the school weekly and make a donation to the hungry.

The current trend is if the food is not picked up at the home, donations fall off precipitously after the first week or so because folks forget. This is happening to Mayor Rothschild’s One Can A Meeting program.

But when kids are encouraged and trained to think of others every week, they take that message to heart, stay involved and encourage others around them to participate.

Another example of kids making a huge difference is the nonsmoking campaign where they talked to their folks about quitting. It was good for the children—they won’t start smoking—and their parents may quit, eliminating second hand smoke in their home. Again, good for the children.

If we want a better world for our children to inherit, then it is up to us to teach them successful patterns of behavior instead of them trying to figure things out when they become adults.

We were the beneficiaries of that laissez faire kind of thinking when we were kids and look how that turned out for us. Let’s be real parents and teachers like Rebecca and Tiffany, and put in the hard work now because we really do love our kids.

An Indian Head Penny
For Your Thoughts

Everything today is a lottery. When something happens to us—good, like finding a wallet or bad, like being hit by a car—we immediately think about how much money will come our way.

And that mentality is so ingrained in our society that stories about cab drivers or trash haulers who returned found money make front page news. Such stories shouldn’t be the exception. They should be the expected.

On Saturday while wrapping the change at the Rincon Market I spotted an Indian Head penny in the coin separator machine. It was no great feat because the coin is convex or bent. When I saw what it was, I have to tell you, I knew it was more valuable than a penny and then the lottery bell went off in my brain.

As everyone else in the 99%, I need things. Those things are more related to One Can A Week, but I still need/want things.

I resolved to check it out on the web as soon as I get home. They have computers at the Rincon Market but I didn’t want to get anyone else involved. See, I too, have lotteryitis.

After wrapping the coins I had time to just sit and think and conjure the “chain of custody” of the penny, trying to worm my way in. The coin belonged to the customer who donated it to the Rincon Market who in turn would buy food with the money. That food is then delivered to the Community Food Bank. I’m just a conduit. Even if no one knows or sees anything I am still a conduit.

My dad who majored in philosophy would be so proud of my thought process because he spent the time to teach me to think with my intellect, not with emotions and self interest.

Of course I still looked up the value of the coin on the internet. The second website I visited had a terrific Indian Head Penny Value Chart. It covered every year the coin was minted from 1859 to1909. By the time I got to 1907 I passed 1873 where a circulated penny was valued at $1,000 and an uncirculated penny, $8,000. At 1888 my eyes bulged at $4,000 and $24,000.

Things got back to normal very quickly as I scanned 1907. The value was $1.80 and $20.00.

At that point I decided to put $2.00 in the Rincon Market kitty and the coin in my pocket as a reminder that what you teach your children lasts a lifetime. If you teach your children nothing, that last a lifetime, too.

One-stop Giving
A 12th Street neighbor asked Barbara Farragut if the Food Bank took clothing. She called and they do. However, non food donations sit in storage until an organization like Goodwill or the Salvation Army stops by.

So instead of our neighbors’ goods taking up space at the Food Bank, we deliver those non food donations directly to Goodwill which is near the post office on South Cherry.

We may be One Can A Week, but we are glad to help our neighbors donate more than just food to those in need.

We collected a total of 160 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $7.05 in cash.

See you Sunday,


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