Monday, December 30, 2013

260th Week Update - Miles Neighborhood One Can A Week Project

We Fed Over 33,000 Kids and Their Parents* Three Meals in One Day

The last cans and the last dollars collected in the Miles Neighborhood for 2013 were turned over to the Community Food Bank today. Today also marks our Fifth One Can A Week Anniversary.

The numbers fluctuate a bit but remain quite consistent over the years. Even through the rough economy the dollars hung in there, too. And yes, we fed thousands of people but the most important aspect is OUR consistency and what we are proving to the world. We—you, me, Barbara, Lenny, Kym and Anna and her family—haven’t skipped a beat for 260 straight weeks. And, equally as important, we account for 50% of our generous neighborhood.

I am very proud to be your neighbor and very proud to help you help so many more neighbors in need.

Have a Happy New Year and thank you very much.

*Here’s the math:
Food Donations to folks fed - 59,859.5 lbs. ÷ 3 meals ÷ 1.3 lbs. per meal = 15,348 folks.

Cash Donations to pounds - $13,293.12 x $9.00 (food bank buying power) ÷ $2.25 per meal x 1.3 lbs. per meal = 69,124 lbs.

Cash pounds to folks fed - 69,124 lbs. ÷ 3 meals ÷ 1.3 lbs. per meal = 17,724 folks.

Folks fed - 15,348 + 17,724 = 33,072 folks  

Not Even Their First Anniversary Yet

Judi and Merv Wingard who run the One Can A Week program at the Academy Village in Vail sent me their 2013 year-end results Saturday. They collected 905 lbs. of food and $2,357.50 in cash.

In February Judi and Merv will celebrate their first One Can A Week anniversary. Imagine how much food and money they will collect in 2014 when they have all 12 months to tally up.

19th Truck Load
It’s only fitting that we end the year with the Chevy S10 filled to the brim again. As you know, the pickup was donated to One Can A Week in January and over the past 12 months it has hauled tons and tons of food to the Community Food Bank. It truly is one of those gifts that keep on giving.

This week’s donations amounted to 556 lbs. and included River View Estates, 22 lbs.;  Sprouts (Speedway), 82 lbs.; Sprouts (Oracle), 124 lbs. and Miles Neighborhood, 328 lbs.

Sprouts Weekly Update

The Axis Canister Strikes Again
Dian Scott from the Shiva Vista Neighborhood dropped off her donation a week ago and said, “Look, Wal-Mart has these neat Libby’s four-can vegetable packs and they only cost $2.00 a piece.”

Seconds after I told Maen Mdanat at the Axis Food Mart Dian’s news he reached into his One Can A Week collection can and handed me $74.00 which purchased 160 lbs. of nicely designed vegetable packs.

We collected a total of 328 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $37.00, a $25.00 check and $12.00 in cash.

See you Sunday,


Monday, December 23, 2013

259th Week Update - Miles Neighborhood One Can A Week Project

Hi Folks,

Now One Can A Week is at
Sprouts on Oracle

The table was set up at 2 pm on Wednesday and by 3 pm we had our first donation. A woman dropped $2.00 in the basket a few seconds after reading the large sign in front of the table.

Over the next four hours folks stopped by to chat and said they were excited to see food collections for the Community Food Bank in their Sprouts. One woman promised to bring donations from home. I told here to just put it in the bin on her next visit to the store. She replied, “Oh, no, I have too much for the bin.”

Too much is always good I told her. She can stack it all around the bin and the staff will gladly help her.

Where the table is currently located, customers have to buy the food and then walk back into the store to hand it to me. Even this little inconvenience didn’t dampen their desire to participate. We collected 26 lbs. which is really great for the first day. Richard Rodriguez, the new Oracle store manager said we will build the program just as we did at Speedway by making small changes over time to meet the needs of the customers.

What a great way for One Can A Week to greet the New Year.  

Dollar for Dollar Match...up to $110,000  
Four local families to match
online donations until December 31, 2013.

On Thursday Jack Parris, the Public Relations Manger at the Community Food Bank sent me an email.

"HI Peter:  I don’t want to infringe on “One Can a Week”, but would it be possible for you to mention the Holiday Challenge (release attached) in your blog for the next two weeks?  You don’t have to repeat the whole release, just the highlights.

"If this is not possible, I understand.

"Thank you for your consideration.


Jack’s in PR and I understand he has to dance a bit with most folks, but when it comes to the Community Food Bank he can just tell us to do something and it will get done.

The four local families: The Jim Click Family Foundation, Jim and Sandy Peebles, Barry and Janet Lang and The Chen/Chow family suggest people donate online to the Community Food Bank and they will match those donations dollar for dollar up to $110,000. My first thought was how about checks and cash like I get? They have a phone number (520) 882-3296 if you don’t have access to the Internet so I called it.

Liz Westrick answered and she said checks and cash are good, too. You just have to call or go see Liz and those cash and check donations will become part of the challenge. So guess who I handed over our $71.00 to when I got to the Food Bank today? And guess who got $71.00 more dollars from those generous families?

Thanks, Jack, for getting One Can A Week into the challenge but you don’t have to be so nice next time. Just tell us what to do … you’re the Food Bank for heavens sakes. 

Lots More Food and a Blanket, Too
Dot Kret of DKA Associates called Sunday night to see if I could take more food to the food bank. Silly question?

She just had a party and asked everyone to bring some food. The party goers decided “some” was just not enough. They ended up with 46 lbs. (not including the blanket). Add that to the normal weekly DKA Associates donation and this week’s total reached 78 lbs., a record.

We collected a total of 214 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $71.00, $55.00 in checks and $16.00 in cash.

See you Sunday,


Monday, December 16, 2013

258th Week Update - Miles Neighborhood One Can A Week Project

Hi Folks,
Gaining Momentum
Here, Vail and New Jersey, too.

Can tree in Millburn, New Jersey
captures the holiday spirit.
Photo by Ari Kaplan
Millburn, New Jersey
For most of my career I chased a “hit” not “bucks”. The allure is a hit seldom happens but when it does there is nothing like the experience of creating something that million upon millions of folks like. A greeting card line, a TV show, lots of books, and a USB pet ID tag top the list of my creative forays into Hitsville. Things sold but never really took off. The greeting card line was close. Unfortunately the Japanese market crashed just as we were getting started in the country and that crushed our chances.

Now the one idea that makes no money—but is turning out to be the best reward ever—helps feed thousands upon thousands of hungry kids and their parents. That idea, One Can A Week is making noises just like it may be a “hit”.

Photo by Ari Kaplan
Ari Kaplan and his daughter Hannah are moving into new territory. In an email earlier in the week Ari wrote: “As you know, for the past two years, Hannah and I have been collecting cans in our neighborhood.  We have about 20 homes on our list and usually pick up about 10 cans each Sunday. Every few weeks, we drop off the cans at the local Red Cross food pantry at a church nearby.

“A few weeks ago, I made a presentation to the Wyoming Elementary School PTO (Parent Teachers Organization) and the principal at our elementary school suggesting that we expand the program to the school and encourage children to bring in a can every week. I promised to take care of all of the logistics - e.g., buying the clear plastic bins and taking the cans to the pantry, with Hannah's help, of course. In our first week alone, we collected over 40 cans from the school program (essentially quadrupling our weekly numbers) and we made the attached can tree, which seemed to have a holiday image to it :)

“I mentioned it to the PTO president at another school and hope to expand it even further in 2014.”

Academy Village in Vail, Arizona
Merv and Judi Wingard are approaching their one year One Can A Week anniversary with some very good news. On December 3rd I received a call from Mark Tate, a volunteer at Greater Vail Community Services Branch of Catalina Community Services. He wanted to know if their newly opened branch of the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona in Vail could be the drop off point for the Academy Village donations. The answer is yes, of course, In our meeting on the 27th, we will discuss Academy Village donations and more important, how to expand One Can A Week into schools and other communities in Vail. Great way to start the New Year.

Old Ft. Lowell Neighborhood
A couple of week back Frank Flash replied to my post on gratitude. He wrote: “Attacks of Gratitude captures a feeling that is hard to describe but is so fulfilling. I was on my way to a model railroad club meeting on Sunday and I think I saw you in your truck going West on Broadway. I think I am going to need a truck soon as the volume of food people are giving is growing. We have 14 HOA's working with us in the Old Fort Lowell Neighborhood. It is starting to become a bit competitive between the HOA champions (participants).

The 18th Truck Load
Next week there will be another Sprouts on the donation list. After meeting with Richard Rodriguez the new manager of Sprouts- North Oracle we decided to set up One Can A Week on Wednesdays (coupon day). This means a new donation bin, new signage and a whole bunch of new participants. Yes!        
This week’s donations amounted to 570 lbs. and included River View Estates, 110 lbs.;  Sprouts (Speedway), 78 lbs.; Miles School, 188 lbs., and Miles Neighborhood, 194 lbs.

Chub is Back
My last stop on E. Manlove Street near S. Cherry Street is the Ellinwood Family. As I got out of my truck a scruffy looking orange tabby cat crossed the road in front of me. He (I guessed his gender because my vet says 80% of orange tabbies are male) slowed down and began meowing as soon as he hit the driveway. “Is that Al’s cat?” I muttered aloud. We thought we lost him to a rogue dog or coyote weeks ago.

It was, matted hair and all. I scooped him up and drive him to Al’s home immediately and called Al, who is still in the hospital, right after finishing my route. A happy day for all three of us.   

We collected a total of 194 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $36.00, a $25.00 check and $11.00 in cash. 

See you Sunday,


Monday, December 9, 2013

257th Week Update - Miles Neighborhood One Can A Week Project

Why We Believe One Can A Week
Will End Hunger
The "We" includes volunteers and participants

Right from the beginning, One Can A Week had a duel purpose: Collect food for the Community Food Bank and engage as many people as possible in the struggle to feed hungry parents and their kids. (The statistics that follow are all approximates based on current information available.)

There are 313 million Americans and 15% or 46 million folks are food insecure. They are not sure when or from where their next meal might be coming. This means 267 million people are in various stages of being food secure, depending on how much money they have in their checking accounts.

Those 267 million people are One Can A Week’s market. And based on the participation rates in the Miles Neighborhood, there is a likelihood that 133.5 million or 50% of the country’s population will eventually participate in a One Can A Week program either in a neighborhood or at local supermarket. This might mean, with one can weighing one pound, we could collect 133.5 million pounds of food a week. At the end of 52 week we would have nearly 7 billion pounds of food.

Add that to the 2.57 billion Feeding America collected in 2012 and we will have almost 10 billion pounds of food.

On the hungry side of the equation, the 46 million food insure Americans (kids and their parents) require over 65 billion pounds of food a year to make three nutritious meals a day.  Here’s the math: 46 million x 3 meals a day x 1.3 lbs. per meal = 179.4 million pounds per day x 365 days.)

Even if we covered just one meal a day, that would be 21.6 billion pounds, nowhere near the amount collected by Feeding America, One Can A Week in the future or the federal government’s billions of dollars spent on food programs.

Living Wage and Greed  

The underlying core of One Can A Week—collecting food weekly and creating community—is the real solution to poverty and hunger in America. The more citizens engage in making our country into a land of opportunity for everyone, the more they will see that we must view the making of money as we do every other endeavor. If a person can throw a baseball (top executives included) we don’t chide him or her every second of the day about why he or she is not playing in the major leagues.

Yet if a person is cooking hamburgers in McDonalds or waiting tables at the Olive Garden—two very important jobs, by the way, especially if you are hungry—what sense does it make to say they should be earning more money when their wages are governed by minimums?

It is incredibly faulty logic to think that if one has the skill to do a task, such as throw a baseball, he or she should be a major league baseball player. The fact is, making really good money in any profession requires a finely honed set of skills and knowledge and it is no surprise that only 1% of our population can do that.

Our vision, our belief is, with millions of rich and poor citizens involved in One Can A Week, a logical and ethical community movement will emerge to encourage everyone to think that a living wage and so much less greed* is the only future our children and their children should inherit.

*To see and then understand how much greed is swallowing up our country, please click on the link to view the sobering video on the actual distribution of wealth in America.   

The 17th Truck Load
Sprouts passed a milestone Saturday. Their customers donated their first ton of food and it took just 22 weeks to reach that mark with an average weekly donation of 92.4 lbs. The donation this week was 100 lbs. even, so they are already heading for a record time to donate the next 2,000 lbs.
This week’s donations amounted to 514 lbs. and included River View Estates, 132 lbs.;  Sprouts (Speedway), 100 lbs.; Shiva Vista, 64 lbs.; Ward 6, 82 lbs. and Miles Neighborhood, 136 lbs.

More Sprouts News
Monday Sprouts Management in Phoenix rotated all the managers in the Tucson market. Richard Rodriguez is now at Oracle and Magee while Theresa Hippler from Broadway manages the Speedway supermarket.

After meeting Theresa on Thursday all my concerns were laid to rest. We’re happily pressing on and in a month or so she would like to see One Can A Week set up at Broadway. Now I know two great managers at Sprouts who like One Can A Week.

We collected a total of 136 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $33.25, a $25.00 check and $8.25 in cash.

See you Sunday,


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

256th Week Update - Miles Neighborhood One Can A Week Project

Hi Folks,
Attacks of Gratitude

So much food heading to the Community Food Bankmakes such a pretty picture no matter what the surroundings.
The attacks started back in 1992, the year I landed an improbable job as Design Director at Merrill Lynch corporate headquarters in Princeton, NJ.

A year or so earlier my world didn’t contain much optimism. The first Bush recession knocked the stuffings out of my design firm which I then handed over to a business associate and walked away. What followed were a number of minimum wage jobs that added to the distress. A typesetter would loose new accounts I brought on board by delivering error ridden gallies. “But they were delivered on time,” he’s remind me. After he lost MetLife, he lost me, too.

Then I worked for a consumer photo service for a month or so where the owner tried to make color corrections to the prints by reading the negative. Since colors are reversed on negatives; i.e., green prints red for instance, the error rate was 25% at the minimum. Money was being thrown in the waste paper basket at an alarming rate and I could not get anyone’s attention.

At the same time my blood pressure was a constant 140/90, wearing me down because my cardiovascular system was stuck in first gear. And I could feel every beat. Interestingly enough, many medical people and ordinary folks say they can’t. They aren’t paying enough attention I’m thinking.

Through a last ditch phone call to a gentleman named Rick Roach—whom I had met earlier in the Merrill Lynch lobby for a five or so minute sales presentation—the doors opened and I was able to turn my life around completely. But no matter how good things got I have never forgotten the dire situation I was in physically and mentally with absolutely no where to turn.

Maybe six months after I was well established at Merrill I was walking down the quarter mile opulent corridor to the in-house cafeteria when I got my first attack of gratitude. I was so grateful to be working in such a wonderful place I smiled and thought “Thank You.” Not to any particular person or thing, but just Thank You. It could be so much worse and my whole being recognized that fact at that singular moment.

Since then, those attacks happen often. The food stacked high next to my guest house elicited one this weekend. We are collecting so much food I just look at it and said Thank You. It’s like I’m two people. On one side collecting food is easy for me yet I look at that skill with amazement. How the heck does it happen?

On Saturday TED (the Technology, Education and Design web site) sent me an email with a video link to a talk by BrotherDavid Steindl-Rast, a Benedictine monk. His presentation was entitled “Want to be happy? Be grateful.”  Perhaps the most salient moment for me came when he suggested everyone should “live gratefully.” Fascinating. That is exactly what I am doing and I am happy. Things go up and down such as my truck dies, or I have little money to expand One Can A Week but I am still happy and have been so for five years now.

Sunday night I met my best friend Maen Mdanat at his store to pick up his neighborhood food collection. He explained all that happened to him and his children when he made his rounds earlier in the day. He, too, was good at gathering food and he felt delight in his heart. Maen had experienced what happens to me all of the time. He was very happy to help his neighbors help hungry kids.

Brother David is not wrong in his assessment. Now that I think about it gratitude is the key to happiness. I discovered this fact years ago by uttering a simple, quiet thank you every time I recognize my good fortune. Try it in place of a swear word when you experience your next close call. Then and there … that will be the start of your happiness.

16th Truck Load
Two dear friends, Kristin Broksas and Merle Stolar threw two wonderful Thanksgiving dinners and asked all of their guests to bring cans to their gatherings. When the donations were tallied including our Sunday collection the total was 344 lbs.

This week's donations amounted to 492 lbs. and included River View Estates, 78 lbs.; Sprouts (Speedway), 70 lbs.; and Miles Neighborhood, 344 lbs.

It Happened Again
For the third straight year, Lenny’s sister, Patricia Diane Cota-Robles gave us $500 to donate to the Community Food Bank. This is a wonderful gift and adds up to $4,500 when you consider the food bank’s $1.00 - $9.00 buying power.

We collected a total of 492 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $601.00, two checks for $550.00 and $51.00 in cash.

See you Sunday,