Tuesday, March 11, 2014

270th Week Update - Miles Neighborhood One Can A Week Project

Hi Folks,
More Schools ... More Sprouts

Tucson High Magnet School
This Friday I spent an exhilarating—and at the end—exhausting day talking about One Can A Week and community services to five classes at the Tucson High Magnet School. A week earlier I met Marea Jenness, a quite and charming Integrated Science teacher who has been aware of One Can A Week since the days of The Huffington Post article back at the beginning of our food drive. She had read all of the local articles, too, but this was her first personal encounter. In our 20 or so minute conversation she invited me to talk to her class and suggested she and her son might be interested in becoming a volunteer at Sprouts. Decisive is another word one could use to describe this former industrial manufacturing engineer.

After hearing my spiel for the fifth time which included how successful the four-year Miles School One Can A Week program is, Marea suggested she might also like to introduce the program to the 4,000 or so Tucson High School students.

In my thank you email I sent to Marea upon retuning home somewhat spent, I mentioned that:  “At the end of the day I discovered I had a new found respect for all teachers. After the first session I couldn't remember what I had said to what class and I began to think that I may be coming across as a memory challenged older person repeating the same story over and over.”

In her reply to my mail, Marea wrote:  “Thanks for volunteering so much of your time! I know that some students are interested in volunteering with you and I'll make sure that they contact you.”

Now that makes it worth the effort, doesn’t it?

Borton Primary Magnet School
A week ago Monday, Greg Clark a Miles Neighbor and friend sent me an email letting me know about a Community Food Bank food drive at his children’s school. It was to run only through the end of the month but Greg convinced the second grade teachers, Karen Hobson, Sheila Encinas and Alicia Gregory to consider extending the program with One Can A Week.

Today I made a presentation to some of the most well behaved second graders I have ever encountered. Maybe they were listening more closely because my Power Point presentation focused on an 8-year-old boy named Cayden Taipalus who paid off his classmates’ lunch bills by collecting bottles and cans, and asking relatives, friends and neighbors to help. Cayden's campaign has raised more than $11,700 - just a couple of thousands short of their $13,500 goal. The fundraiser closes March 28.

A week or so ago Cayden was standing in line behind his friend when a staffer took the lunch away from his friend and threw it away because he was over drawn by $5.00 on his lunch card. The staffer replaced the discarded lunch with a juice drink. Cayden could not believe what he had witnessed and it caused him to do something about it. That’s when he began his fundraising campaign. To date Cayden has paid off the delinquent accounts at his school and the school down the street. More will follow.

At the end of the presentation I mentioned that they may be just 7 and 8-year-olds but they have power as Cayden proved. After they left the auditorium to go back to class Karen Hobson and I spoke for a few minutes. She is going to discuss the One Can A Week program with the other teachers and will probably select one person to head the program as they did at the Miles School.

Sprouts – River Road
About 4:30 pm Lydia Dillon-Sutton walked up to the display table at Sprouts-Oracle on Wednesday and asked me to tell her about One Can A Week. Generally at the end of my monologue I tell folks that I am looking for volunteers to take over a Sprouts for 4 hours a week. “Any day?” she asked.

Yes, any day, but Wednesdays (coupon day) and Saturdays have the most traffic. She then said, “I’ll do it and I want Sprouts on River Road. That’s closer to home. I was driving by so I decided to do my shopping here this week.”

We both walked back to see Richard Rodriguez to get things moving forward but he had left for the day. I told Lydia I’d connect with Richard and get back to her.  I also mentioned that I may have to go slow because I’m in the process of finding a sponsor who can help with signage and expenses but she said there was no problem, she would get thing going herself.

That evening I was responding to an email about my push to create a national community service program and I decided to cc: Lydia too. A day later Lydia wrote back.

I just read your letter and of course I had no inkling of your interest in Native Americans. That has been my area of art for almost 40 years. Perhaps that was the connector. The connection was made and I'm looking forward to helping our community be fed.”

Of course I had to Google Lydia at that point and discovered, “holy cow” her beautiful art was everywhere on the web including major retail websites.

For some time now I have been saying there are folks out there who will step up right away once they hear about the simplicity and effectiveness of One Can A Week. Apparently I just have to get out in front of a lot more people. 
7th Truck Load – 2014
Well, it’s more like a truck and SUV load this week. When I got back in the cab at my fifth stop, the S10 just decided to not turn on. The battery and warning lights were flickering but nothing happened at all. Turns out the starter motor froze. No weeks of warnings, it just froze. When the mechanic at Brake Masters told me the repair bill would be $414.00, I did the same thing.

Most of the time in the next few hours was focused on one question while I waited for 2 pm to roll around so I could use Maen’s SUV to make a delivery to the food bank. Where the heck am I going to get that kind of money?

About 1:30 pm my friend Ernesto Portillo called and asked me where I was.

At home I told him and he said, “Good, can I come right over?”  

Ten minutes later he honked and I walked up to the open window of his large pickup. He handed me a check and I thought it was for the photos I recently took of the under carriage of his reconditioned 1955 Chevy pickup. We have been trying to sell that old but beautiful hunk of metal for over a year now. When I looked again at the check, I saw $300.00 this time.

“What’s this,” I asked.

“I sold her,” he said with a wide grin.

One second I’m in a major money quandary and the next second the solution drives up. I totally understand how to find food to feed hungry kids, but this money thing?  I have no clue about what is going on.

This week’s donations amounted to 770 lbs. and included River View Estates, 64 lbs.; Miles School, 108 lbs.; Sprouts (Speedway), 226 lbs.; Sprouts (Oracle), 250 lbs. and Miles Neighborhood, 122 lbs.

It’s good to go back … sometimes – When the S10 pickup died Sunday I had to revert to the hand truck and strapped on bin.  With that thing in tow I thought about the early days and how far we’ve come in the past five years. Since I am never going to quit until … well, my body does, I also thought about how much more we can do. Thinking about the future is so much more fun…that’s for sure.

We collected a total of 122 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $57.00, a $50.00 check and $7.00 in cash. 

See you Sunday,


1 comment:

  1. Alicia Gregory says that we were so happy to have the One Can a Week presentation come to our school. The students at Borton collected a ton of food for the food bank that they dropped off on a field trip there. It was an amazing experience.