Tuesday, May 27, 2014

281st Week Update - Miles Neighborhood One Can A Week Project

Hi Folks,
15,214 lbs. of Food Donations in 5 Months
That's Enough to Feed 3,901 Kids and Folks
Three Meals in One Day.

There were 21 weeks in the first five months of the year. Eighteen of those weeks saw a truck load of food, 500 pounds or more, delivered to the Community Food Bank.
Those who participate in One Can A Week are really doing something positive and productive about our terrible problem of hunger here in America. Week in, week out they give a can or a dollar and the combined results are astonishing.

The question is, how do we engage more of the 265 million Americans—who are not food insecure—to reach out to help the 46 million Americans who are?

The answer, I think, is to encourage folks when they help—to also ask themselves—why do they help. Begrudgingly… that’s probably their first response. Too many questions race through their minds. Do I have to go? I hate those things. Too noisy. Too many conversations. Too much involvement with other people who appear not to want to be here either. Where is all this food and money going? Is it really feeding folks?

When I first thought about doing my fair share of community service I had so many reservations I almost dropped the idea of helping people on a broader scale. The obligatory meetings. The group dynamics. The off-point discussions. Then nothing really gets done. This led me to think about what kind of community service would I like? No meetings, of course. Personal but very little interaction because that’s what most of us like anyway. “Got to get back to my texting, writing, singing, baby hugging, etc.” The list is endless.

And then there’s the control. I wanted to set the commitment, the agenda and monitor the results. Would what I do really help or would I be waiting on someone on another committee to decide what the color of the swing set should be before we can put the darn things up in the playground?

As I was writing these words, Dian Scott, the coordinator for the Shiva Vista Neighborhood stopped by to drop off her five stuffed shopping bags of food and 62 lbs. of grapefruits. I told her what I was doing and then I asked her what she liked about the One Can A Week program. “You don’t call me,” she began, “you don’t get in the way of what I am doing because I’m really busy. You give me my results and you let me be me.”

Well … I couldn’t have said it better myself. 

Then I quickly asked her how I could find more volunteers like her? “Send out a news release to all the media looking for community good,” she advised, “like the Weekly and those ‘Good” publications.”

If I could find just one more person like myself who would enjoy picking up the food and ten more like Dian who just wanted to collect and drop off the food, then we could double our output. That would be 30,000 lbs. in five months helping around 7,700 folks worry less about where their next meal was coming from.

One Can A Week's Chartable Growth

Google not only provides a free blog—for which I am very grateful—they also analyze every comment, continent and click. (Notice the map at the bottom of the graphic which shows One Can A Week is definitely an American project.)

Although the blue chart accurately chronicles the interest in our One Can A Week’s blog, the start date is March 10, 2009, not May, 2006.

For some reason after absorbing all that awful national news last week I decided to look around for other facts that weren’t as depressing. The Huffington Post article helped increase our YouTube video views from 1,212 to 1,542 in just a few days. That’s 330 possible volunteers…or not.

The funk was still in my brain until I realize the growth chart itself was a thing of beauty. Even with all of the ups and downs, One Can A Week is steadily increasing its viability as it gets older. Sticking and staying is really working. 

That did it. I got back on track and began planning my next moves at Sprouts. It’s amazing how one piece of personal happy news can put things back into perspective.

Sprouts Farmers Market Update

Man Hours and Truck Loads
What it takes to get the job done.

On Monday mornings the food is loaded into the truck for the trip to the Community Food Bank. This is great exercise and takes about 20 minutes depending on how difficult it is to keep the different donations visually separate.

The food bank is only 4 miles away and takes about 15 minute per trip both ways. Then the unloading into individual shopping cart … more great exercise … is about 25 minutes. Weighing in adds another 25 minutes.

On Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, 4 hours each is spent collecting donations, cash and shopping at three Sprouts Supermarkets. The unloading of the S10 at home requires 15 minutes times three.

Sundays involves four people. Three take 30 minutes collecting on their respective blocks in the Miles Neighborhood. My route, including some chit chat is completed in 2 hours.

This brings the weekly total to approximately 18 man hours, give or take a few minutes. In the past 21 weeks we averaged 724 lbs. Now if we could locate 6 more volunteer teams to share an 18 hour week with us, who know how much food we would collect. Way over 100,000 lbs. in the next  five months I’m guessing.

This week’s donations amounted to 776  lbs. and included Sprouts (Speedway), 232 lbs.; Sprouts (Oracle), 114 lbs.; Sprouts (River Road), 54 lbs; Miles School, 134 lbs.; Shiva Vista, 114 lbs. and Miles Neighborhood, 128 lbs.

The Power of One
Today is Rachael Carson’s birthday. I hear that name and I immediately know who she was and that she wrote The Silent Spring back in my early college days. The year was 1962 and the first time I became aware of DDT and other pesticides and the problems they were causing the environment.

Eventually the chemicals were banned and Rachael’s efforts awakened me and millions of other Americans to the growing dangers to our environment. Another outcome of her efforts, besides the banning of DDT, was the growth of the grassroots movement that helped create the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Many of our problems today are so huge—like 46 million hungry Americans—coupled with so much resistance to change that the task to set thing right seems incredibly daunting. But then Rachael and Rosa and LBJ come to mind and I just keep pressing on.

We collected a total of 128 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $4.00 in cash.

See you Sunday,


No comments:

Post a Comment