Tuesday, January 22, 2013

211th Week Update - Miles Neighborhood Food Collection Project

Hi Folks,
“My name is Mary Naset and
I’m on the digital team at the
Presidential Inaugural Committee.”

Good thing I was sitting down when I opened that email. I blinked and read the first sentence again. As I got deeper into the email the reality hit me. This really is from the Presidential Inaugural Committee.

One of the fun aspects for me in building One Can A Week is clicking on an email and finding a terrific surprise that moves our food drive forward. This was just such a moment.

“Hi Mr. Norback,

“My name is Mary Naset and I’m on the digital team at the Presidential Inaugural Committee. As we get ready for all the festivities of the 57th Presidential Inauguration—including the National Day of Service, we are looking to profile people who have made service a part of their everyday lives, and your name was passed along to me as a great person to feature!

If you don’t mind, I’d love to ask you a few questions about you, your service, and how President Obama’s call to service has inspired you that we could then feature as a blog post on 2013pic.org! Please let me know if/when you are available for a quick phone call, or if you’d prefer I can send you some questions over email.

“Feel free to give me a call at 202-674-5418. Thank you!

Mary Naset
Content Writer
Presidential Inaugural Committee”

Over the next couple of day while anxiously awaiting a link to Mary’s post, I thought about a lot of things especially an email my friend Fran Coleman at Our Family Services just sent to me.

“Our first year, the donations averaged 60 – 75 lbs. per month. I am not sure what has happened this year, but donations are way up from the exact same group! For the past three months, Senior Companions have donated 110 lbs. of food per month! Our total monthly donation for the year will be about 1,500 lbs. of food.

“…all these donations are lovingly given by this gracious group of low-income Senior Companions! Keep in mind that most live on $500 - $800 a month, so giving is truly a loving sacrifice that they feel is important.

“In one of our monthly meetings not long ago I asked the group why they wanted to continue participating in One Can a Week? The response was overwhelmingly this: “We are the lucky ones; we have a roof over our heads, food in our bellies, and work that is meaningful – so sharing with those in our community who are less fortunate is only natural.” Imagine if the entire world thought as magnanimously as the Senior Companions – hunger would be gone!”

Fran Coleman
Senior Companion Program Manager
Our Family Services

On Tuesday, January 15, Mary sent me that link: Helping others—one can at a time. One click and I was instantly thrilled. Mary even used the composite photo of Lenny Cota-Robles, Barbara Farragut, Kym Fuhrig and me. She really wanted a group shot but thought the composite worked well. Guess what’s on our to-do list now? Yep, group shot.

The next day, with a clearer, calmer head, I tried to think of who recommended One Can A Week to the Presidential Inaugural Committee. The only person I know in Washington, DC is Sandy Scott who has helped me a few times over the past four years. In the early days he set up The New York Times and the USA Today articles.

It just had to be him so I sent a short thank you email. I was right and his reply makes me want to try even harder to take care of hungry kids and their parents.

“I was so glad to see their blogpost! We are excited that the President has again made a National Day of Service part of his Inauguration and our agency is working closely with the PIC on this exciting effort. I sent them your story because we think what you have done with One Can a Week in an incredibly inspiring example of the difference a person can make when they join with others to tackle a problem. You should be very proud of what you have started, what you will continue to do, and how you have inspired other efforts.”

Sandy Scott
Director of Public Affairs
Corporation for National & Community Service

Yesterday I got an email from a new grassroots organization called Organizing for Action that will help President Obama do something about gun safety, immigration, the debt ceiling and health care. After signing up and reading up on the next steps, I’ve decided that I’ll help were I can, but I’m keeping my focus on One Can A Week and the hunger issue. Folks are now realizing that We The People—as the President just said in his Inaugural Address—have to solve these big community problems by everyone working together in the community. Well, we in the Mile Neighborhood know this but won’t it be great having so many more people committed to community involvement? It sure will.

Look Around, Hungry Students are Everywhere
On Thursday Tiffany Kassel invited me to talk to her new class of One Can A Week volunteers at the Miles School. They were already pretty comfortable with the subject and had 56 lbs. of food and a $20 check for me to take to the food bank. Near the end of my chat I told them to pay attention to students who seldom eat when other are snacking. They have nothing so they say they are not hungry. Help them by quietly sharing your food.

Those words caused one young girl to speak up about her situation some time ago when she and her family had to “use the food bank.” Her point to her classmates was that yes, hungry students are among their friends, so look around.

We collected a total of 176 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $8.00 in cash.

See you Sunday,


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