Monday, February 3, 2014

265th Week Update - Miles Neighborhood One Can A Week Project

Hi Folks,
To change the world
you first have to change yourself

Robert Hadel, a friend and neighbor stopped by Sprouts - Speedway a week ago Saturday with his three-year-old daughter Mattie to do some shopping. He was also there to test drive volunteering every Saturday for One Can A Week.

As we talked Mattie sat patiently in the cart and several Sprouts customers dropped off food or cash donations. “See how easy it is,” I said, “you just have to say ‘Thank you and smile.’” Robert got how easy it was but there was still a hesitation in his eyes. The commitment was a concern but there was something else, something deeper. 

When our authoring days in New York City were beginning to wane, my brother Craig wanted some help selling new titles to publishers. To that point I handled production and Craig made all of the sales calls. At first I was reluctant. No, that’s not right. I am always reluctant to make sales calls. Even today. However, I also know sales makes the world go round. So I pick up the phone and make the call. That happens right after I tell myself the uncomfortable feeling I’m experiencing will go away and the person I am talking to will become a friend maybe five sentences into our conversation.

What Robert was experiencing in his mind—along with his reluctance to act—is something I face with each new endeavor. It’s actually counter productive for someone like myself who thinks of new ideas all of the time. But fortunately for me I love my ideas so much more than I hate to approach folks. Consequently I have learned how to be just a little afraid … but never chicken.

If I can change just a little bit—for just a little bit—I know I will feed thousands upon thousands of needy kids and their parents. You, too, can change and then maybe you can help me make an even bigger difference by volunteering at one of the five Sprout supermarkets for four hours a week. If it still sounds uncomfortable, think about how uncomfortable it is to be a child and hungry all of the time. 

A change to help the poor and
the Post Office at the same time

The office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the U.S. Postal Service has a great idea. But first, here are the facts they laid out in a recent report. Almost 68 million people—more than 25% of the country—have no checking or savings account. These folks spent a whopping $86 billion on non-bank financial services mostly through payday loan businesses and check cashing services. The average household expenditure of $2,412 in fees and services charges is about the same amount they spend on food.

Now imagine if the local Post Office also became a no-frills bank offering basic bill paying, check cashing and small dollar loans. Millions of poor people would save big bucks on fees and interest while the Post Office could make a whole bunch of money to stabilize its balance sheet. And the Post Office is in every nook and cranny in the country giving bus riders easy access to these services.

This concept has been around awhile in Europe and the earnings of the postal services involved have increased markedly. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren supports this idea and just like her Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, expect this one to come to fruition, too. 

Sprouts Update

The Ward 6 office has some pretty nice meeting rooms so Council Member Steve Kozachik and his staff encourage anyone who uses the free facilities to donate a can or two to the Community Food Bank. Every other month I pick up those donations and today was the day. Glad I did because those 112 lbs. pushed us into another truck load. In just four weeks we’ve delivered 2,566 lbs. of food.

This week’s donations amounted to 531 lbs. and included River View Estates, 26 lbs.; Sprouts (Speedway), 78 lbs.; Sprouts (Oracle), 164 lbs., Ward 6, 112 lbs. and Miles Neighborhood, 151 lbs.

Out the door in a hurry – Besides cans and packaged goods, part of this week’s Sprouts – Oracle donation included 10 – 5 lb. bags of potatoes. As soon as Jacob Coldsmith, the Director of Logistics saw them he told the warehouse crew to take them to the Agency Market, the food bank’s distribution center for nonprofit organizations with on-site feeding programs.

Late last year when I delivered dozens upon dozens of Burger King rolls, Bill Carnegie, the former CEO, did the same thing. Those rolls were quickly sent to the Agency Market.

This is why I am crazy about donating food to the food bank. What we deliver feeds people … now!

We collected a total of 151 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $52.00, a $25.00 check and $27.00 in cash.

See you Sunday,


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