Monday, May 13, 2013

227th Week Update - Miles Neighborhood One Can A Week Project

Hi Folks,
Miles School Sets New One Can A Week Record
Relentless, Friendly Reminders Make the Difference

It was just a little after 3 pm Friday as I drove down Vine Street next to the Miles School. Suddenly I was flagged down by the driver in the opposite lane. It was Tiffany Kassel and she was all smiles. “We collected just over 2,500 lbs. of food this year,” she said.

I stopped in my tracks and rolled the window the rest of the way down. It was unusual that no one was behind either of us so we chatted for a minute or more.

“Last year,’ Tiffany continued, “we collected 1,100 lbs. At the beginning of this school year I set our goal at 2,500 lbs. and we made it.”

The difference we surmised was her friendly and relentless reminders to the kids. “I told them if they forgot their food,” Tiffany said, “they could donate some small amount of change, whatever they had. Their parents liked this option also and often gave a dollar or two when they were in a rush.”

We said goodbye and slowly drove off in different directions. But I’ll bet we were both thinking the same thing. Whether you stop by folks’ homes every Sunday or you say something every week just before collection day at the office or school, nobody really considers that reminder to feed hungry kids and their parents a bother or a nuisance.

I do it all the time and so does Tiffany and we collect a heck of a lot of food. And we never see any of those exasperated looks either that persistent sales people often get.

Fascinating. When I present One Can A Week to individuals or organizations the first reaction is they shutter at the thought of approaching another human being. The phrase “drop off” is generally included in the first sentence they utter.

After that brief drive by conversation I had with Tiffany and some reflection, I now know what to say to those reticent to engage someone in a conversation about helping a fellow human being in deep trouble.

When people agree to participate in One Can A Week, they want to see you every week and just love the fact that you are thoughtful and, yes, considerate enough to help them remember an obligation they too want to keep … relentlessly.

Cheryl Crow is the celebrity spokesperson for One A Day Women’s Nutrition Mission. I learned this fact after opening an email sent to me by Kristen Hershberger, the Volunteer Manager at the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.

Here’s how Ms. Crow described her mission:

“…this year, in addition to donating up to 2 million more meals ($250,000), the Nutrition Mission is celebrating and honoring those who make exemplary efforts to fight hunger in their communities by awarding four $25,000 grants to Feeding America food banks in local communities. The winners will be announced this September and one of the four winners will be selected to meet me in my second home, New York, to help further raise awareness of the great work being done to fight hunger. So share your stories. Together we can make a real difference.”

I stayed up late to finish the 2,500 character (with spaces) story about One Can A Week and then clicked send. We won’t hear anything from One A Day (notice the conceptual similarities in our names) until September and only if the Community Food Bank wins the $25,000 grant.

Of course I didn’t mind working late for the Food Bank because if you remember, way back in the beginning I got a similar email from Pauline Hechler, the former Director of Development who told me about a $500 grant I could win from Quaker Oats. I did win that one and the money paid for the signage on the Cabriolet.

In my world, favors always get favors.

Lots of Kentucky Derby Winners
Every year my friends John and Heidi host a fun derby party with wagers, wonderful food and whimsical hats. When Orb crossed the finish line first this year, not only did he win but so did John and One Can A Week.

John picked up his winnings and approached the other lucky gambler. “I’m going to donate my winnings to the food bank, what do you thing?” That kind of question always gets a pause and then “Oh, yeah, me, too” response. John won again and the community food bank picked up a sweet $110.00.

We collected a total of 163 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $155.00, a $25.00 check and $130.00 in cash.

See you Sunday,


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