Monday, May 5, 2014

278th Week Update - Miles Neighborhood One Can A Week Project

Hi Folks,

The Adventures of the
Convenience Store Man
and his sidekick
One Can A Week Pete

What looks to be fun and games is simply window dressing for a very serious commitment to safeguard and improve the lives of everyone in our community. Both Maen Mdanat, the owner of the Axis Food Mart and I think strategically. We may have started with a simple idea, Maen wanting to build a family friendly neighborhood store and I, a neighborhood food donation program for the Community Food Bank, but these ideas now have national implications. We recognized that potential several years ago and just kept plugging away.

Maen has a number of videos where he thwarts “shenanigans,” as KVOA’s Rebecca Taylor so aptly put it, but none captured the character of Maen until a thug decided to sucker punch him at the front door. After we came up with the name “Convenience Store Man” every thing just fell into place. An overwhelming numbers of folks writing comment say they are proud of Maen standing up to a bully. Americans just love an underdog who saves the day especially when it’s a military man or woman doing the saving.

And speaking of military men and women, that’s the bigger picture Maen want to spotlight. Convenient stores are targeted by bad guys all over this country because they are such easy marks. “Why not,” Maen asks, “hire ex-military folks to work in and/or protect convenience stores? First of all, they need the jobs and who else would be better at cleaning up a mess and keeping the peace?”

One way to get the ball rolling Maen thinks is to create a nonprofit where a cadre of ex-soldiers can be trained to protect the most troubled convenient stores in a city and grow from there. The nonprofit can also pay one ex-soldier to work at the store when things are the busiest. Over time there is a good chance that a number of ex-soldiers may like the convenient store business and become an owner just as Maen did.

With the half a million and growing views of his video, Maen now has a platform to maybe get folks attention about the jobless rate of our ex-soldiers and a possible and positive solution to the problem of convenient store trouble spots.

“An Amazing Day”
When it comes to One Can A Week the excitement it generates can’t be captured in a video. A still photo is the only thing that does it justice.

“An amazing day.” That is what Bill (on the far left); the security guard at Sprouts-Speedway said when I showed him the results of our Saturday’s donations. Four carts of watermelons, potatoes, cans and packaged goods.

Bill is the key component of those amazing results because during the week he has taken on the role of bin curator. He explains the One Can A Week program to inquisitive customers and manages the display of donated goods. Bill discovered while removing competitors’ bags from the bin that the donations look better all piled up in their natural state.

When thinking about ways to expand and strengthen the program at Sprouts I often wondered what would happen if I set up the display table on more days of the week. Would the results increase in proportion to the energy expended? Bill answered that question.

All that is needed is a casual caretaker in between the weekly four-hour personal appearances to make the bin overflow. (See photo to the right.) This is such good news because down the road when supermarkets across the country get involved in One Can A Week, it will not be an arduous commitment. One bin, one display day, one caretaker and one phone call for pickup. That is all it will take to engage thousands of customers in weekly community service. 

After recognizing what Bill discovered I thanked him for stepping up to help me. He made the program even more simple for grocery stores and their customers to participate which means his idea will be feeding more and more people in need.

Maen and I just do what we do but we also consider the big picture, too. We see a way to take on some responsibility and then follow through, just as Bill the Sprouts-Speedway security guard did.

Special Note: The name One Can A Week Pete is courtesy of the gentlemen in the Community Food Bank warehouse who help me every week. Thanks, guys!

The Convenience Store Man Video
Reaches Critical Mass
The numbers keep adding up hourly.
There were 588,420 views as of 7 pm tonight. Sunday night, May 4, 2014 at 11:46 pm the views were 562,873. The current number is 25,547 more views which translates into 1,345 clicks per hour. That’s critical mass at work. 

Sprouts Farmers Market Update

Another 1,000 Pound Plus Truck Load

15th Truck Load – 2014
Friday I was too busy to make a run to the Community Food Bank … a good thing … so today I piled all of the food into the truck but took two photos. On the left is the 820 lbs. of food we collected at the three Sprouts Farmers Markets. On top of that, (right photo) is all of the food from Miles, DKA, Shiva Vista and River View Estates. The Chevy S10 payload is 1,171 so that was close.

This week’s donations amounted to 1,084 lbs. and included River View Estates, 16 lbs.; Sprouts (Speedway), 380 lbs.; Sprouts (Oracle), 216 lbs.; Sprouts (River Road), 224; Shiva Vista, 60 lbs. and Miles Neighborhood, 188 lbs.

Change for the better … all the way around – When CVS announced they were going to not sell cigarettes after October, 2014 I decided to switch my prescription to the CVS University store even though it will cost me $15.00 more.

When I called today to check on the status, the pharmacist remembered me and the medicines I requested. That never happened …ever … in my 15 or so years of dealing with Walgreens. More often than not I had to correct my standing order.

As my friend, John Gallow says when struggling with customer service, “If I pay you a little more can I get what I want?” That always made me laugh but not any more. CVS showed me what John was talking about.  

We collected a total of 188 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $7.00 in cash.

See you Sunday,


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