Monday, July 29, 2013

238th Week Update - Miles Neighborhood One Can A Week Project

Hi Folks,
It’s Official

One Can A Week is now a weekly feature at the
Sprouts Farmers Market On Speedway and Swan.

This is a big deal because top management at Sprouts approved implementing One Can A Week as an ongoing community service program in one of their stores. Oh, and then there’s the fact that it’s a first for a major supermarket.

Sprouts Farmers Market operates more than 160 stores throughout Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah. That’s very impressive and we couldn’t be more proud or honored.

Richard Rodriguez, the Sprouts store manager had an interest in One Can A Week since the Sunflower days so when I showed him a mockup of the display bin he finally let us in on his strategic thinking. He pointed to the photo at the top, the One Can A Week words in the middle and the Community Food Bank logo on the bottom. “This is us,” he said, “this is our program and this is who we will benefit. Perfect.”  
Richard is a professional manager who sees business as a solution to solving some of our social ills. Me, too. This is going to be good.

As I left after my 9 am to 1 pm stint on Saturday, Richard smiled and asked, “How did we do?” We collected $43.96. It took until Monday to come up with the number of pounds. There were 50.

Visual appeal is very important to Richard and his staff. That’s why the collection box we were using in the past was not working out. It even got trashed once. This time I decided to take a more creative approach, trying to compliment the story’s energy and décor.

What you see is a hamper from Target that is reinforced and weighted on the bottom. The can legs add even more bottom weight and a designer look. B-J Weld holds the cans fast to the wood base.

Cynthia and Chris at Signs Now created the trapezoid sign which is held in place by Velcro giving even more structure to the bin. 

Cynthia remarked that “I was thinking outside the box” when I created the food bin. I said no, I was “thinking outside the hamper.”

There is a natural tendency to hurry things up when those things are going well. One Can A Week is different. No matter how successful one day is, it is not a good idea to think about stringing together more days. Folks will tire of the idea. Even after 238 straight weeks, interest is still high in the neighborhood because people only have to think about One Can A Week for a minute or two each Sunday.

The idea is to match what is happening in the neighborhood to what can happen at Sprouts. The donation bin is always there and a person shows up every Saturday. That’s how much push there should be.

It’s going to be fun to watch One Can A Week sprout at Sprouts.

This point was apparent on the first Saturday when it only took two hours and 35 minutes for a can to be place on the table. There was no conversation, no instructions, just the banner sign on the table to motivate customers. Other food donations followed later in the morning.

The money basket worked the same way.

If someone had a question I talked to them. Otherwise all I did was smile and say hello to those who walked by and looked in my direction.

The One Can A Week label is positioned on the checkout stand in a subtle way.  It simply encourages Sprouts customers to donate to the Community Food Bank every time they shop.

Rosemary thought of placing the One Can A Week label on the checkout stand some time back but the Sunflower management didn’t like the idea. Now if she has time, she can tell her customers all about One Can A Week.

This hard working sticker has a double purpose. It helps customers identify “their Sprouts” as their partner in helping feed the hungry kids and parents in Tucson. Then it reminds them to act.

The old Sunflower sticker did not have the photo, just the words. In the short time it was up, it double the food donations. Can’t wait to see how effective this little guy will be. 

League of United Latin American Citizens Foundation
Helps Keep One Can A Week Going

Mary and Richard Fimbres are always asking me how things are going. They know I foot all of the expenses for One Can A Week and they have witnessed the transition from the declining Cabriolet to the truck.

A couple of months back they asked me to submit a grant request to the League of United Latin American Citizens Foundation (LULAC) explaining the operations of One Can A Week. I actually had forgotten I had done that for them.

Sunday they handed me a grant check. I was speechless which is something that doesn’t happen very often.

Now I can ready the truck for inspection in September. It needs two new oxygen sensors, a new water pump and an oil change. All of these maintenance fixes can be done now. What a relief.

My biggest worry is my truck breaking down. I’m toast if that happens. But now thanks to Mary and Richard and the LULAC grant, I can do the proper maintenance and have a little backup just in case something else goes wrong. I’m very touched by their thoughtfulness and generosity.   

Molly Thrasher Awarded an Owlie
for 1,000 YouTube Views

Molly Thrasher wrote and produced our wonderful One Can A Week video out of the goodness of her heart. She did it with a bunch of her own money and a healthy chunk of her time and talent, too. I told Molly a number of times how much I appreciated her work but I wanted say it in a more meaningful way.

The video was rapidly approaching the 1,000 views mark on YouTube which is terribly significant considering no marketing of any kind was ever done; i.e., except for word of mouth. Since I think Molly’s work is very intelligent I decided to create an award for her. While helping my friend John Gallow fix up a home he is selling, I saw this cute ceramic owl that was destined for the Goodwill and I asked him for it. John gladly gave it to me and the Owlie was born.

It’s a handsome little bird as the photo shows. When I brought the figurine home and showed it to Adam he thought it so life-like he immediately started to bark. He calmed down after I hid it in a cabinet.

The Owlie sits on Molly’s desk in her Ward 6 office and the certificate hangs on the wall. She called to tell me, so I guess she likes it. Now the question is where am I going to find a ceramic Eagle when there are 5,000 views?

Eighth Truck Load This Year – With the Miles Neighborhood holding steady at 170 lbs. on average per week, any other collections will help us reach the 300 lb. mark. Sprouts donated 50 lbs. and Ward 6, 74 lbs. adding up to a total of 298 lbs. this week.  

Thank you, LULAC
Right in the middle of preparing this news-packed post my Samsung monitor of many, many productive years turned everything a sickly green. For the past year it had been doing that but righted itself in a minute or so. Recently the monitor was blinking back and forth from okay to sickly green to okay. Right after lunch it turned green forever.

Following a moment of silence and a couple of pats on the frame, I stood up and raced out the door to Best Buy and purchased another Samsung monitor on sale for $139. I’m back in business and this update can go out on time. Thank you, again, LULAC.

We collected a total of 174 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $31.00, a $25.00 check and $6.00 in cash.

See you Sunday,


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