Monday, September 23, 2013

246th Week Update - Miles Neighborhood One Can A Week Project

Hi Folks,
A Little Slow on the Uptake

Richard Rodriguez, the Sprouts Framers Market manager gave me at least three hints on how the One Can A Week strategy should go. But no, I had this plan of building up the donations and then turning everything over to them to manage. It made perfect sense to me.

A few weeks ago Richard said corporate is watching our progress and I should be ready to move forward if they call. I am ready, kind of. I just started to put together a manual with photos on how to set up a One Can A Week program in a store. We discussed it Saturday and Richard told me he liked the idea and suggested I go ahead with the concept.

I then presented an 11x17 quarterly report poster that I would like to display in the store telling customers and staff how productive their donations were. When he saw the copy, “638 lbs. of food. Sprouts Farmers Market fed 164 folks three meals in one day.” he immediately took out his cell phone and said, “I’ve got to send my boss a photo of this poster. He’s going to like it.”

After taking the photo and emailing it, Richard again asked me, this time using a more studied corporate approach, “Do you have resources to set up in other stores, a main table, satellite tables, and volunteers?”

Those words really got my attention. Sprouts is moving forward and One Can A Week is going to remain a key element in the relationship. Later when I relayed my conversation with Richard to Bill, the security guard—who is very watchful and protective of the donation bin during the week—he replied, “that makes perfect sense, a true partnership.”

The moment Bill said “partnership” everything fell into place. If Sprouts coordinates One Can A Week themselves, somebody will eventually say they are “running a promotion” that just happens to donate food to the food bank. Promotion being a bad word in this instance. With One Can A Week volunteers doing the work, the program remains a strong and unique community service project.

Then there’s the situation with the cash donations. Sprouts does not want to have anything to do with charity cash donations. It’s hard to keep track of and besides, it is not part of their business plan. This was another hint from Richard. When I collected $79 a couple of Saturdays ago, I asked him if there were anything special I should buy. “No,” he said pointedly, “you buy whatever you want.”

My thinking is business will help end many of our social ills, but there are two important ingredients necessary to make such a concept viable, listen to what the business people are saying and keep it “strictly business.”

Thanks Richard for helping me see how to press forward.

Hannah, the Accountant
Ari Kaplan who lives in New Jersey collects One Can A Week with his 8-year-old daughter Hannah. A couple of days ago he sent me a copy of their most recent delivery. Seems Hannah keeps a record of every food item they donated to their local Red Cross pantry.

As the graphic on the left indicates, Hannah does a whole bunch of work, picking up the item, reading the label, putting it down and writing it down.  She did that 20 times. Now there’s a little girl who’s got her empathy and keeping track way under control. And her penmanship is pretty good, too.

Third Anniversary, YES!
In the beginning Fran Coleman, Senior Companion Program Manager for Our Family Services thought One Can A Week would be a great one year project for her organization. Since most of her Senior Companions live on $700 to $900 a month they understand what it means to be close to hunger. Fran did not want to go longer than a year because the program may prove to be too financially stressful for her volunteers.

To Fran’s surprise, at the end of the first year, all of the Senior Companions asked for One Can A Week to continue. Now it’s their third anniversary and they again requested I hand out certificates with the Executive Director at their annual Appreciation Luncheon.

Funny, that’s my third anniversary, too, for another happy day.

We collected a total of 144 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $66.00, a $25.00 check and $41.00 in cash. 

See you Sunday,


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