Monday, April 28, 2014

277th Week Update - Miles Neighborhood One Can A Week Project

Hi Folks
Convenience Store Man
Cleans Up Neighborhood
One Thug at a Time

The thug threw a sucker punch (red arrow) that altered his life 1.5 seconds later.
A little over five years ago I met Maen Mdanat the new owner of the convenience store in our neighborhood. He walked across his parking lot to greet me as I approached and right away I could tell he was a good guy. It was just a gut reaction then but time proved it to be dead on. Within minutes I learned that he cared about his new neighbors and wanted to become active in the One Can A Week program.

As with most convenient stores there was a lot of riffraff hanging out, drinking and sleeping in the nearby alleys. Panhandling was rampant also. I asked my new friend if he could help clean up our neighborhood and keep those folks in line. Maen said “Yes,” without any hesitation.

His initial motivation was to make his new venture a family store. In the beginning he had mostly male customers and very few women because the premises did not appear to be safe with all matter of unkempt folks loitering around the “watering hole” as it were. Today, women are among his best customers.

So how did he do it? Well, Maen’s first career was in the Army’s Special Forces unit. This unique training is a key factor in the reshaping of our neighborhood where peace and civility is the norm. Through his ability to sense trouble early, heft a 170 pound beer key by himself and react quicker than congress can say no, he was able to demand respect for himself and his customers.

He kept order and discipline in his store and those who did not comply were dealt with by the police or he handled the situation himself. He ejected the unruly from his premises, the alleys and the whole neighborhood. As you can imagine the families in the neighborhood are extremely grateful for the security he provides and they crowd his store daily.

But he has to be vigilant even now after all this time because convenient stores are easy targets. Unfortunately, the word has not gotten around to all of the unsavory people that our neighborhood is different. Thugs are the target not the convenience store.

Last Saturday a man walked into the store and began mumbling something to Doug the clerk behind the counter at the time. He said he had no money but wanted something. Maen who was in his office saw the exchange on his monitor and came out to see what was up. Maen recognized the man was trouble and offered to walk him to the door. As the man got close to Maen holding the door open he made a fateful error that would alter his well being in the next second and a half. He sucker punched Maen. Go to the video tape … Convenience Store Man in action.

All of this melodrama was captured on the store’s video surveillance cameras. A few days after viewing the footage I decided it was high time to go public and tell the real story behind how Maen helped make out Miles Neighborhood safer. But a straight news story is boring even with all of the action and would not be memorable. So enter the Convenience Store Man comic book saga.

Old and young customers alike have viewed the video at the Axis Food Mart and their reactions were quite similar. They cringe a bit at the crash landing and smack down but are delighted a thug got what was coming to him. Several folks questioned Maen’s decision because retaliation is always a possibility. He has no concern for such things. In Maen’s experience, if there is any thought of retaliation, it is in the mind of the bully who just suffered great humiliation and pain. “Why would he come back to experience that devastation again? Maen asked. “Or maybe something even worse. Bullies are cowards at heart.” 

We Love You …
Convenience Store Man

Look for the further adventures of the


Sprouts Farmers Market Update
Since July 29, 2013 Sprouts has donated 4.45 tons of quality food.

Over 1,000 Pounds Three Weeks in a Row

What pushed the poundage this week was the new One Can A Week display (right of the table under the arrow) at the Sprouts – Oracle store. The display was looking pretty picked over on Wednesday and the
donation bin was full (left of table). Throw in 444 lbs. of watermelons still sale priced at 10 cents per pound (see carts on far left), the 84 lbs. in the bin and you end up with 714 lbs. of food. That is about 72% of the donations this week … just from one 4-hour stint.

When the display gets built in the Sprouts-River Road store next month, the donations should take another giant leap.  

This week’s donations amounted to 1,146 lbs. and included River View Estates, 30 lbs.; Sprouts (Speedway), 238 lbs.; Sprouts (Oracle), 528 lbs.; Sprouts (River Road), 186 lbs. and Miles Neighborhood, 164 lbs.

Neighborhood Clean Up in Early May
Every year the city provides eight roll off trash bins FREE to the Miles Neighborhood to help folks get rid of more than brush and bulky stuff. Beginning on May 8th and ending early May 12th, five roll off trash bins will be placed in an open public space near the following addresses.

1.  1208 E. 12th Street
2.  1527 E. 12th Street
3.  404 S. Cherry Street
4.  1808 E. 12th Street
5.  1229 E. 13th Street

Start selecting items such as mattresses and dressers and TVs. Also this is a great way to get rid of all that brush and tree trimmings you piled up this spring.

A printed reminder will be distributed to homes on Sunday, May 4th. Keep and eye out for it.

We collected a total of 164 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $153.00, two checks for $125.00 and $28.00 in cash.

See you Sunday,


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