Monday, September 24, 2012

194th Week Update - Miles Neighborhood Food Collection Project

Hi Folks,

If we keep doing the same thing over and over, how come we can expect our results
to be different?

The old adage, “If you keep on doing the same thing over and over again, you cannot expect different results” is not true in the case of One Can A Week. We go around to our neighbors each and every Sunday and things just keep on happening. One neighbor attended an office party and she is rewarded with lots of food to donate. Another neighbor moves out and empties the cupboard. Life is ever changing for our neighbors but when they can count on one thing, it makes their lives a little more comfortable. That one thing is we will always pick up and deliver food to the Community Food Bank every Monday.

This simple service helps encourage their generosity and in turn they make life a little more comfortable for those needy folks here in the city.

All’s well that ends with free pickup and delivery.

Here’s a quick view of the first three quarter totals over the past 4 years. The poundage keeps increasing while the cash donations are quite stable. Neighbors move in and out of the Miles Neighborhood—but on average—our participation rate is around 120 homes in a community with a little more than 200 homes.

The weekly chart below shows the ebb and flow of our collections with some weeks not as impressive as others. All of us, Barbara, Kym, Lenny and I, think about the weekly haul and sometimes note the diminished contributions, but we know that if we don’t falter in our commitment, our neighbors always come through in the long run.  

Yeah, the Gleaning Season
Kim Fuhrig, our 13th Street volunteer, dropped off two boxes of grapefruit on Sunday, which means she tugged and yanked them around in her wagon for many blocks. Was it worth it? “Fruit is very important in one’s diet,” she will tell you while trying to catch her breath.

We collected a total of 224 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $33.00, a $25.00 check and $8.00 in cash.

See you Sunday,


Monday, September 17, 2012

193rd Week Update - Miles Neighborhood Food Collection Project

Hi Folks,
The Idea Is All About the Numbers

Within 15 seconds of starting her documentary on One Can A Week, Molly Thrasher states how many pounds the program collected and how much money was raised. This got my attention because I usually mention our success later in my presentation. First I talk about helping the needy and how involved our Miles neighbors are in community service. Interesting.

The more I thought about it the more I realized I’ve got to change how I present One Can A Week. Our success is the most important thing because our success feeds all of those hungry folks.

So the first thing I did was redesign the header on our blog to highlight our donations. These numbers will change every quarter. (See photo above.) Then in the right hand column I posted a link to Molly’s video. Everything is a little more up front which is really how it should be. “Cut to the chase” is how Molly might phrase it.

By the way, if you have not viewed Molly’s One Can A Week documentary, you are missing a real treat. There is intrigue and exciting plot development. She is a good story teller and everyone is delighted with her creativity.

Bill Carnegie, CEO of the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona figures prominently in the plot and he, too, is a good story teller. After viewing the documentary, Bill emailed me saying, “I sent it on to the folks at Feeding America.”

This is quite an endorsement for Molly’s work because Bill is one who always insists on the highest level of professionalism and integrity, especially when it involves him personally, his office and the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.

Check out the video and I know you will want to send the link to your friends. It is that good.

Talking One Can A Week to the Kids
Today at 8:30 I made a presentation to the middle schoolers responsible for the One Can A Week program at the Miles School. Their teacher, Tiffany Kassel introduced me and then we watched the One Can A Week documentary.

Photo by Molly Thrasher
 There were no fast moving cartoon characters on the screen, just a couple of chickens and some highly motivated ants that make a brief appearance, yet these students sat quietly for 10 minutes and watched the whole video with rapt attention.

Tiffany’s insistence on respect for others in her classroom is working incredible well. These are high energy students but one word from her quiets everything down immediately. I have to tell you, I was more impressed with their presentation than mine.

To promote One Can A Week to their fellow students, they created dozens of posters which they hung throughout the school. They also make a weekly announce on the PA system and surprisingly enough, many of the students were vying for the job.

After the period, Tiffany asked me to stay a few minutes while they collected the food from the other classrooms. In less than 10 minutes they were back with lots of food. Their donation amounted to 60 lbs. this week.

This is the third year for One Can A Week at the Miles School. Not only are the students learning about helping others in need, they are also getting into sticking and staying.

61¢ Short of Perfection
This week at the Rincon Market the customers donated exactly $135.00. Once the count is done, the next step is to go shopping in the grocery section of the market. It’s always a guessing game to determine exactly how much food to put into the cart. Most weeks I have too little food and have to do more shopping or I have too much food and have to put some back.

This week Jacob the cashier swiped the last item in my cart and the total on the register came up to $134.39. Amazing, a record. While we were celebrating, Don Overall, a weekly contributor to One Can A Week walked up to me, handed me $2.00 and then quickly walked away. Oh nuts, I had more money to spend and nothing in the cart. That makes me short again. Goodbye, record.

A few minutes later I saw Don in the dining area and showed him the sales receipt. After a brief explanation, we both looked at each other, paused a second and then broke out laughing. There was no record set and I still have to continue guessing how much food equals how much money, but Don and I now have a very funny story to share.

We collected a total of 232 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $42.00, a $25.00 check and $17.00 in cash.

See you Sunday,


Monday, September 10, 2012

192nd Week Update - Miles Neighborhood Food Collection Project


Karla Avalos-Soto, Community Outreach Advocate in the Mayor’s Office sent an email to me Thursday asking, “Could you please arrange to have 20-30 boxes delivered to our office? We are almost out :) Thank you.”

Ever week the Mayor is handing out boxes to very influential managers in the city. This is such a good thing.

Another good thing is the tag line Karla uses on all of her email correspondence.

You can join the Mayor's "One Can a Meeting" program. Just bring a non-perishable food item to your meeting. There's a Food Bank collection box right in the conference room.” (See photo below.)

The Little Cabriolet Makes A Very Big Difference

A few weeks ago, Barbara Farragut, our 12th Street volunteer, asked me if I were going to get a little truck to make the pick ups for the Mayor’s program. She could see that the program was growing each week.

Unfortunately, right now I have to stick with the Cabriolet because, like most folks, money is the issue. She looked at me and said, “Let me see what I can do.”

In no time she got some interest from a number of charities in town but because One Can A Week is not a 501.3.c (what the legal folks call a nonprofit) there were tax and liability issues. One Can A Week won’t be a nonprofit because I want every can and every penny we raise to go directly to the food bank. A nonprofit organization costs money to start and maintain. That same money could be used to feed a bunch of kids breakfast every morning.

Undaunted, Barbara is pressing on. She has one car rental company interested and one friend who is currently vacationing on Majorca in the Mediterranean Sea until October. Something will happen I’m sure because Barbara was first told no when she asked for banana donations from a company. Now every Sunday we have banana donations. No always means maybe to Barbara.

It’s All About Pick Ups

Her name was Erin and I could tell she had not been at the food bank donation dock before just by her first question. “Do I just ring the bell?

She was delivering donations gathered at her young daughter’s birthday party. That must have been some party since her Mercedes trunk was stuffed full.

I helped her fill a cart then pushed it up the ramp. We talked briefly about One Can A Week which was new to her and then she asked if I pick up the food.

That is the biggest concern for nearly everyone I talk to about One Can A Week. They would donate more often to the Food Bank if it were just easier to get the food there. Well … I’m working on it.

We collected a total of 245 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $53.00, two checks for $45.00 and $8.00 in cash.

See you Sunday,


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

191st Week Update - Miles Neighborhood Food Collection Project


Two new participants, Fred Archer Neighborhood Center and the Southwest Institute for Research on Women (SIROW) answered the call to help the Mayor with his One Can A Meeting Program after reading a simple question in his monthly newsletter. “Can you put a collection box at your workplace - maybe a spot where you hold meetings? It's a good reminder of need in our community. More than that, it's practical help that's sorely needed.”

Speaking of practical help, two newsletters you should get in your Inbox each month is the Mayor’s Newsletter and Councilman Fimbres’ Ward 5 Newsletter. Simply click on the Tucson Email List link, type in your name and email address and at the bottom of the page select the newsletters you want to receive. Both newsletters are packed with important information and city happenings.

Now That’s Some Respect for the Mayor

People generally want to help hungry families here in Tucson, but when given a choice, they also want to hide the “White Elephant in the Room” in the employee lounge or in the back someplace next to the soda machines. However, when Mayor Rothschild asks community leaders to participate in his personal community service program, he suggests placing the box next to their meeting rooms.

Well, every one of his participants is doing him one better. As shown in the photos above, the Mayor’s friends are placing the somewhat gigantic Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona box in areas where it can’t be ignored. Each box sees lots of traffic every day and each box is beginning to work its magic. It’s only been a little over a month since the Mayor started his program and I’ve been called to make several pick ups already.

As with my Miles neighbors, the Mayor’s friends are stepping up big time and are going to make his One Can A Meeting Program a consistent and successful way to really help hungry families in the city.

Auto with a Cause
Grady Bautista a neighbor in Barrio San Antonio writes a political blog called Facing the Cannonball and occasionally highlights Opinionated Cars. Two Sundays ago, he spotted the Cabriolet and flagged me down for a photo. A couple of days later Grady sent me a link to his post in an email.

“This is in fact, the first opinionated car I have met that was something more than just an expression of the owner’s character and taste,” Grady blogged. “This car is an activist, raising food for the Tucson Community Food Bank and bringing awareness of the hunger problem to our local community.”

In that same email with the link he told me he would leave a whole bunch of cans on his porch. He did. But I didn’t return the favor and take a picture. I think he’ll understand.

We collected a total of 181 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $31.00, a $25.00 check and $6.00 in cash.

See you Sunday,