Can’t Turn Back Now
When I began One Can A Week in 2009 it fit neatly into my budget. Just a little inkjet printing, just a little gas and a red patio umbrella that was on sale. Now with how the program is expanding and how people are taking to the idea especially Mayor Rothschild’s administration, I have to look for ways to extend the life of my Cabriolet and stretch my funds.
This past Friday I got an email from Heather Thrall in the City of Tucson, Planning and Development Services Department who needed a sizeable food donation pickup. After I set a pickup time and date she wrote back to say, “I commend you for your service to this community, it's beyond kind and very needed.”
With the inauguration of Mayor Rothschild’s One Can A Meeting program offices all over town collect or would like to collect food but they do not have the know-how or the way, for that matter, to deliver their donations to the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. It is just such a hassle for them and I totally understand.
So Heather is quite correct, a pick up service is “very needed.” The Community Food Bank does pick up food but they have schedules and cannot act quickly, if at all, to random calls for pick up service especially if those donations are under 50 lbs.
My next thought after reading Heather’s email was I need a One Can A Week sponsor to help me meet these new, and welcomed, I might add, expenses. Just considering the prospect of making a presentation to a prospective sponsor opened up a whole new line of thinking and work, too. Five hours later I had the first draft of a One Can A Week proposal in a file on my laptop. I’ve mentioned all of the ideas in the proposal before but have never written them down like the program’s mission, the rational for its entrepreneurial structure and so on.
For instance with regard to the organizational structure I wrote:
After creating One Can A Week I realized I could only personally collect so much food in a few hours on Sunday. (Sunday was chosen because that is the one day of the week that folks are home on a consistent basis.) I also decided that Coordinators should only work in the neighborhood in which they live.
Adherence to the strict meaning of the word charity – Every food donation and every penny is given to the Community Food Bank.
Total transparency – All donation records are based on Community Food Bank receipts only.
Entrepreneurial participation – Each neighborhood Coordinator independently initiates a One Can A Week program and is totally responsible for weekly collections and records. If there are any irregularities, the Coordinator is called into question, not the One Can A Week program.
No nonprofit status – Many people are concerned that their donations will be used for purposes other than to help individuals. The web and newspapers are filled with stories of abuses and even major charities are not immune to such shenanigans. One Can A Week will never file for nonprofit status with the IRS. This is in line with my thinking that a charity should be a totally charitable venture. Therefore, no income or expense will be paid for from any donation to One Can A Week.
Then I thought I should highlight the different aspects of One Can A Week operating here in Tucson.
There are currently 6 other neighborhoods and organizations picking up the One Can A Week gauntlet and collecting food and dollars for the Community Food Bank.
The Rincon Market on 6th Street is the prototype of the capitalistic function of the program. Patrons donate small change and dollar bills each week in a collection jar by the cash register. Those cash donations are then used to purchase can goods in the grocery section of the market. Over the past two years the Rincon Market has donated over 4.5 tons of food.
Maria Maes, a high school student in the Catalina Vista Neighborhood collects approximately 35 lbs. on average per week accumulating over a ton of food in the past two years.
Frank Flasch encouraged most of the HOAs in his Old Fort Lowell Neighborhood to participate in One Can A Week. To date they have over 9 HOA participating with more coming on board. They collect an average of 55 lbs. per month. In a year that will amount to over two tons of food.
Mayor Jonathan Rothschild’s One Can A Meeting program began in October, 2012 and involves a number of prominent organizations in Tucson such as PICOR, Lewis and Roca, Providence Services, City of Tucson, Planning and Development Services Department and The Arizona Theatre Company. These organizations will prove to be more productive in the holiday season.
The Miles School in the Miles Neighborhood is now in its third year of donating to the Community Food Bank through the One Can A Week program. Each school year a different class is assigned the task of collecting food from the other classes. In addition the students visit the food bank and learn to shop at local supermarkets.
Senior Companions a part of Our Family Services, a national volunteer service initiative is continuing their involvement in One Can A Week for another year. When asked, all the volunteers said yes to their commitment to the Community Food Bank.
There is more to the proposal and I would really appreciate your comments before I move forward. You can click on the link to view the information on the One Can A Week website.
There is no going back because there are too many parents and children to feed and besides, we do have a winning community service program on our hands. I have this feeling some community minded sponsor will step up. I just have to get the word out.
Building More than Homes
Jarrett Reidhead said he would show up in November and donate One Can A Week for all four of his properties in the Miles Neighborhood. The total was 48 cans or 12 weeks x 4 homes. That’s a significant gesture especially since his donation put us way over 200 lbs. this week.
Happy Thanksgiving, Jarrett, from all of us.
We collected a total of 254 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $57.00, a $25.00 check and $27.00 in cash.
See you Sunday,