Monday, April 22, 2013

224th Week Update - Miles Neighborhood One Can A Week Project

Hi Folks,


Just a Bump in the Road
On Thursday I picked up the remaining food bank boxes at the Mayor’s office. When I got home I sent Mayor Rothschild an email expressing my sadness because the program was over.

Within an hour he replied, stating emphatically, “we have not ended the program.” Then he went on to say, “I must admit I have not gotten the response I would like … we will continue to try to collect.”

Great, he’s not giving up … and I’m not giving up … and there’s another reason why I voted for him.

The Mayor’s office donated 28 lbs. of food this week.

Coordinating Efforts
“We’re now talking to the same folks, and we don’t want to confuse things.

Part of the discussion in Tuesday’s meeting covered One Can A Week’s involvement with the Rincon Market. A converted mayonnaise jar with a simple sign—generating from $90 - $260 per week—made quite a hit and sparked a little competitive show and tell. A minute or two after presenting the Rincon Market’s collection jar, the Community Food Bank’s green bucket suddenly made an appearance. Pictured from the left, Lou Medran, Food Drive and Gleaning Coordinator, Melissa Wieters, Vice President of Development, Peter Norback and Bill Carnegie, CEO, Community Food Bank.
Photo by Laura Sanchez

On April 3rd I sent an email to Jim Click asking to meet to discuss my experiences at the Rincon Market. Specifically I was hoping he might introduce me to the management of Fry’s and Safeway in Phoenix.

As a way of referencing my credibility, I mentioned both Bill Carnegie and Mayor Rothschild in the email, whom I also copied, of course. A couple of days later I was invited by Melissa Wieters to an April 22nd meeting at the Community Food Bank.

I figured the main focus would be on my Rincon Market story so I prepared a thorough chronology of how Barbara Farragut and I began the process of collecting food at supermarkets. It was three months into One Can A Week and the assistant manager at Safeway on Campbell and Broadway let us set up a table. This new approach to collecting food was Barbara’s idea. When Safeway collections ended because we were not on their official charity promotion list, I moved over to the Rincon Market and the Sunflower Market.

To help create a solid visual image of the Rincon Market’s program I brought along a duplicate of the actual donation jar which collects a minimum of $400 each month. That former mayonnaise jar did its job and captured everyone’s attention.

I also explained that all I want from those huge supermarket retailers is permission to place a collection jar somewhere in each store and a Community Food Bank box with a large One Can A Week sign on it. Since there are only 18 Safeway store in Tucson, it would keep me busy but I could manage picking up the donations each week.

Since I had this golden opportunity to speak to top management at the food bank, I also put another idea in my folder.

To switch subjects, I said, and I quote because I had it written down: “When people think about hungry kids as often as they think about their own need to eat, hunger in America will go away.”

“Make Them Think” Campaign
Bill Carnegie was the catalyst for this idea When we talked during the Volunteer Appreciation gathering at the Tucson Art Museum a couple of weeks ago he said people are not aware of the many reasons we have hunger in America.

Since that conversation I have been thinking about unique ways to educating folks without saying the word education. This brought to mind a Halls Mentho-Lyptus spot that ran in my hometown of St. Louis some time back. It only lasted 10 seconds and showed a close up shot of an older, round faced gentleman popping a lozenge into his mouth. He then spends the rest of the precious seconds scrunching his face in response to the sour taste.

The announcer in a voice-over said: “Halls Menthol-Lyptus throat lozenges – Anything that tastes that bad has got to be good.”

Sales of Halls doubled in the next couple of weeks simple because the company was truthful and provocative in telling that truth by mocking themselves a bit.

Food Bank 10 Second PSA Spot
Two spots were presented but one will do here. The image is a back shot of a big kid sitting next to a regular sized kid at a school lunch table. The Community Food Bank logo is on the bottom of the frame. The voice-over announcer says: “Guess which kid spends the least amount of money on food?” (Pregnant pause) “Guess again.”

The provocative aspect of this commercial is the viewer is mocked a bit and the answer will only be clear to those who understand diet and weight control. Cheap food contains the least amount of nutrients and the highest amount of fat and sugar. Six of these PSAs only take up 1 minute of airtime but will have a profound effect because they will run daily.

Bill really liked the educational aspect of the PSA spot idea and will get back to me shortly after he returns from vacation. So all in all, that was one of the best and most productive One Can A Week meetings I have had in some time.

Special Note: No response from Mr. Click yet.

When School’s Out
Nina Straw, the Tucson Blessings in a Backpack coordinator covering Bloom Elementary (near Pantano and E. Pima) sent me an email Tuesday bringing me up to date on her critical work.

Blessing in a Backpack, she wrote, ”…feeds 68-73 children every Friday with a weekend backpack containing 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches and a snack 38 weekends during the school year. We are supposed to get another 150 children next year from Schumaker Elementary which is closing, and many of those children might be eligible for our program. It costs us $80.00 to feed one child for the entire school year, or $2.10 a weekend.

“We are having a huge fundraiser Saturday, May 4th at HARLEY DAVIDSON. If you could spread the word, we would appreciate it. We need to raise a lot more money in hopes of feeding all who needs it.”

Besides being my birthday, May 4th is going to be a great day to hang around Tucson Harley Davidson. They will have all kinds of family activities starting at 9 am and lasting until near sunset. Put it on your calendar. Tucson Harley Davidson is located at 7355 N I-10 EB Frontage Road. Call 520-751-3380 for more information and then party on.

Just Plain Beautiful
One of the eight artful and intriguing Tuffets in our Arroyo Chico Park

You have to see these magnificent Tuffets for yourself because no photograph could do them justice. Mary Lucking an artist from Phoenix created these magical tile and cement Tuffets with images so exciting you see something new every time you look at them. The colors are amazingly vivid and there is humor in every corner of the circular seat.

To tell you the truth, there should be little plain curved stone benches around these terrific pieces of art so you can sit and just stare at them. I for one cannot bring myself to park my bottom on them out of a deep respect for the artist and her inspiring work.

Go take a walk in the park and see if you don’t agree that we are very lucky to live here in the Miles Neighborhood.

UA Campus Pantry Update
Davis Bauer got enough of a break from his finals and LSAT classes to drop me a line. The Pantry Board decided to eliminate the Cat Points requirement and they “had by far the biggest turnout of the year this past month.” They also expanded board membership and experienced “quite the influx of applications.”

The sorority program is growing also. “Two more sororities are looking to get on the bandwagon next semester.”

What a great way to end the school year and kick off the next.

We collected a total of 164 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $42.00, a $25.00 check and $17.00 in cash.

See you Sunday,


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