Monday, April 14, 2014

275th Week Update - Miles Neighborhood One Can A Week Project

Hi Folks,
It's Always a Stand Up Job
When You Help Folks Help

The cute little girl with the pink headband and the pink outfit had little interest in waiting in the checkout line with her mother. She was maybe four-years-old and was ready to move out at any given moment. Her mother was used to her impatience and wanderlust so she initiated subtle course corrections with her hand or a soft spoken word all the while guiding her groceries down the conveyor belt toward the cashier. The mother was a professional multitasker for sure.

This slow motion shopping ballet happened in the checkout line directly in front of my display table so I saw all of the intricate patterns and moves. As the cashier tallied the sale, the woman took out her wallet and then a credit card. She held her wallet for a moment while her daughter stepped into the aisle to wait, looking longingly at the front entrance. Her mother pulled a single bill out of her wallet and folded it in half as it emerged. She then called her daughter a couple of time to get her attention. “Please come her,” she calmly said, “I want you to do something for me.”

With a bit of reluctance the little pink tyke walked back to her mother who handed her the bill and told her to put it in the basket. She palmed the bill as her mother had so even in her tiny hand the denomination was not visible. The bill was flipped to the back of the basket where I got my first glimpse. My adrenaline caused a shockwave to race through my body. A $100 bill. “Really?” I said in disbelief looking directly into the woman eyes. She just nodded and smiled as she pushed the cart, daughter in hand toward the entrance.

“Google One Can A Week on Tuesday,” I said, “I am going to write about this.”

“Don’t write about us,” she replied turning back to look at me.

“No, I’m going to write about my shock and reaction to your gift.”

She smiled and continued walking.

The bill sat in the basket as shown in the photo above for many, many minutes. I wanted Carrie Williams, the assistant manager to see it. She was busy so it took her nearly 45 minutes to return to the front of the store. I kept checking half of Ben Franklin’s face every few minutes to make sure he was still there. Eventually I covered up the image with a dollar bill just to be safe.

When Carrie arrived I showed her the bill. She was just as surprised as I was. “Did you ask the customer if she had made a mistake?”

“Really?” is what I said to her,” I replied. “The customer nodded yes.”


We talked more for a minute or so and I told her about a volunteer tryout earlier in the morning. The volunteer came in and immediately pulled out a stool from under the counter behind the display table and sat down. As gently as I could I told her that One Can A Week is a stand up job because we have to show we are very interested in our program all of the time. The volunteer said she had a medical condition and could not stand for four hours. Right away I told her I would think of something else for her to do.

She did not agree with my strategy, however, and mentioned all she had to do was smile. I told her that would not do and gave her an example of walking down a row of booths at a street fair. “People are more comfortable walking up to a person standing at the front of the booth and often pass those merchants who are working with their head down, reading a book or otherwise occupied.”

The volunteer slid off the stool and walked through the automatic doors muttering, “That is the craziest thing I ever heard.”
Carrie’s response to my story was immediate. “You must be engaged at all times,” she began. “That is the best customer service and we pride ourselves on being engaged. I tell our team members, no slouching, no leaning on things, do something and be ready for the next customer.” She paused a moment and then asked a few hypothetical manager questions, “What about that $100 bill? Would she ask the customer if there were a mistake? Would she take that bill? After all, no one is watching or checking.”

Carrie was called away and I stood there for some time just thinking about our conversation. I felt better after the rejection from the tryout volunteer because Sprouts Farmer’s Market is the perfect place for One Can A Week. They stand up and look out for all of their customers, too.

This is How Much a $100 Bill Creates
Potatoes, String Beans, Strawberries and more Potatoes
When the $100 bill dropped into the wicker basket there were only a half dozen $1 bills to keep it company. But after the word got out to all of the cashiers, the excitement began to bubble over. James, The Megaphone, as I affectionately call him, mentioned One Can A Week to lots of customers as they came through his line. James is well liked and his regular customers often follow his lead. At the end of my stint, we collected a total of $159.08. This is another Sprouts-River Road record.

The $159.08 purchased 310 lbs. of potatoes, 28 lbs. of fresh string beans and 22 lbs. of very tasty strawberries. With a total weight of 360 lbs., the average cost per pound was 0.79 cents. In the past when I purchased cans of beans, not fresh produce, the $159.08 would have netted 167 lbs. of black beans at 0.89 cents per can.

Not only can we buy a lot more fresh produce, we feed hundreds of kids and older women and men almost immediately. The fresh produce I deliver in the morning is shipped out to church and agency kitchens in the afternoon.

While at the Community Food Bank Friday morning I spoke to Jacob Coldsmith, the Logistics Manager and he said it would be great to see a photo of all those produce filled shopping carts in a row. He was right and lucky for me I took that very photo during all of the excitement at Sprouts the day before. Thanks, Jacob, for giving me the idea to share that excitement with everyone else.

Sprouts Farmers Market Update

1,112 Pounds
So much food this week even a
half ton pickup couldn't carry it all in one trip.

The 1,112 pounds of food is a new donation record and beats the old record of 901 lbs. three weeks ago by a hefty sum. It just goes to show that Feeding America and the Community Food Bank are absolutely correct when they say that “creating awareness” is an essential part of their campaign to feed hungry kids and folks in America. Think about it, each One Can A Week expansion into a new Sprouts Farmers Market proves their point. Customers are exposed to the need every time they go shopping and the donation of quality food soars week after week.

This week’s donations amounted to 1,112 lbs. and included River View Estates, 42 lbs.; Sprouts (Speedway), 196 lbs.; Sprouts (Oracle), 222 lbs.; Sprouts (River Road), 360 lbs.; Shiva Vista, 60 lbs.; Miles School, 92 lbs. and Miles Neighborhood, 140 lbs.

Special Note: Donations over 500 lbs. per week is considered a truck load. Since fresh produce requires more timely delivers to the Community Food Bank coupled with the 1,000 lb. capacity of the Chevy S10, there may be more than two photos of loaded trucks in the future.

Light summer staples
The Community Food Bank is looking to provide children and families lots of quality cereal and peanut butter for the summer months ahead. Fry’s is asking you to donate these items throughout June. Also, if you notice, many of our neighbors already got the message. (See photo on the right.) So let’s keep the cereal and peanut butter coming.

We collected a total of 140 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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