Monday, March 25, 2013

220th Week Update - Miles Neighborhood One Can A Week Project

Hi Folks,


At the bottom of Mayor Rothschild’s scheduling email is this note. “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.”

That message is getting through. This week the Mayor’s office collected 39 lbs. of food.

Swarthmore Sophomore Wins
$20,000 Scholarship with
One Can A Week Program

A rough graphic of the map section on the proposed farepath website I created after speaking to Jason
for a half hour. The farepath logo is official.

“My name is Jason Heo, and I’m a sophomore at Swarthmore College, right outside Philadelphia. A couple of years ago, I came across the One Can A Week program as a high school senior in southern Indiana.”

That’s how Jason introduced himself to me in an email on Tuesday. He went on to say how his family after arriving from South Korea years ago struggled in the beginning but are now achieving some success in building a life in America. Jason goes on to write…

“Because my father was an international graduate student, once I was born, my parents certainly encountered some difficulties making ends meet. Fortunately my parents were the type to go through great lengths to guarantee the success of their children. With governmental aid through Head Start and Medicaid, my family was eventually able to reach a more stable socioeconomic class before too long. Through good fortune, I was able to avoid becoming one out of five or six children going hungry everyday. However, and I’m sure you would agree with me, many Americans are much less lucky than I am.”

Later on in his email he turns to One Can A Week, “Additionally, I was so inspired by your progress and expansion through the One Can A Week program, I began my own in the Swarthmore community. I was extremely pleased with how fairly simple your model was, yet so effective. However, I believed that the introduction of technology into the program could be that much more beneficial.”

This is where the scholarship comes in. Jason applied for and won a Lang Opportunity Scholarship that rewards “distinguished academic and extra-curricular achievement, leadership qualities, and demonstrated commitment to civic and social responsibility.” He will receive up to $10,000 for his technological project plus $5,000 per year for two years of graduate study. (The Lang Opportunity Scholarships program is an endowment created by Eugene M. Lang from the class of 1938.)

What Jason is going to build is a secure website for One Can A Week participants, whether whole neighborhoods or individuals. Folks will be able to view maps and information to see how everyone else is doing in the quest to eliminate hunger in cities across America. The website will create a community in the neighborhoods and online at the same time. This is especially appealing to Jason’s generation.

The website will also create contacts for help with delivery to the local food bank every week. Donated food in cities will begin to flow and there will be all kinds of transportation opportunities available for participants. A flash notice on the website will have someone at your door in a few hours to help you out.

The other element I discussed with Jason was the friendly competition aspect. Everyone can see who is doing what in the neighborhood or group and this can help up the ante in donations.

Jason closed his email by telling me … “I’m currently collecting donations from about 20 households through this academic semester to collect data while also working on building different aspects of the technological platform. I really just wanted to express my gratitude and appreciation for what you’ve created in the One Can A Week program. I would really enjoy being able to speak with you to hear more about your program and talk to you about the different aspects of mine.”

Well, that last part about talking? That’s going to happen a lot. Anyone who is helping to make One Can A Week better and more efficient has my undivided attention.

Campus Pantries Growing On NBC News the other night they featured a story about hungry college kids across the country. There are at least 50 pantries in operation at 50 major universities and colleges. We have one here at the University of Arizona. Good heavens, folks, this is a wake up call. Pretty soon pantries will be everywhere, even at banks and corporations.

And this is not an exaggeration. In a Huffington Post story today, “Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Cay Johnston for Tax Analysts” stated that “Incomes for the bottom 90 percent of Americans only grew by $59 on average between 1966 and 2011 (when you adjust those incomes for inflation). During the same period, the average income for the top 10 percent of Americans rose by $116,071, Johnston found.”

Another good heavens!

We collected a total of 209 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $32.50, a $25.00 check and $7.50 in cash.

See you Sunday,


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