Monday, July 7, 2014

287th Week Update - Miles Neighborhood One Can A Week Project

Hi Folks,
Miles' Weekly Food Donation Averages:
Simply Astonishing.
2014 Second Quarter Donation Results for the Miles Neighborhood.  
A couple of years ago while creating a concept called The Red Umbrella Corps to encourage other neighborhood in the city to implement a One Can A Week program I included a chart that listed weekly averages for food and cash donations. In addition I extrapolated the numbers based on the averages for 1,500 volunteers in 187 neighborhoods. The annual results would have generated millions of pounds of food and millions of dollars.

This pipe dream (Hookah dreams for those more contemporary folks) never created much interest because the basic requirements were commitment and consistency. Now that we are 287 weeks deep into our neighborhood program I decided to check the weekly averages again. What a surprise. From January, 2009 to June, 2012 (Week 1 – 181) the weekly averages were 228 lbs. for food and $50.40 for cash. At the end of last week (Week 286), the weekly average was 227 lbs. for food and $50.22 for cash. Since I have dyslexia, you know, I checked those numbers over and over again until I got matching results time after time.

Based on nothing more than commitment and consistency we collected one pound and 18 cents less per week than two year ago. I like that fact a lot and it indicates that The Red Umbrella Corps would have been as successful as I thought if volunteers had stepped forward. (See Molly Thrasher’s One Can A Week video: minute 6:14.)
The Wright Brothers figured out a way to make metal buses fly. I have to find a way to motivate a thousand or so people in Tucson who are as hungry as I am to end food insecurity in the city. The easy part is the food is there, you just have to pick it up. The hard part is just teaching folks to say hello to their neighbors … right after they get up off the couch and out the door. Guess there are three hard parts.

One Can A Week is Back at the Rincon Market

Mark, the jewelry vendor was in his rightful place outside the automatic doors as I approach. He had been there since last Saturday making sales. This was a good sign because I was visiting the Rincon Market to ask for my old spot back, too.

Mark pointed and said Ron Abbott was seated in one of the large leather chairs just inside the front doors. The two gentlemen sitting on his right were quiet and as I sat down in the chair on his left, I figured out way. Ron was dozing. He sat up, smiled his big grin and told me he had been up most of the night.

I asked if he were ready to talk about One Can A Week and he joked that I had abandoned him for Sprouts. There was a bit of a pause and then he asked, “What day were you thinking about coming back?”

Saturday was always good at the Rincon Market but I now have an obligation at Spouts – Speedway. We agreed to give Friday a go. As I stood up Ron nodded off again.

John Abbott, Ron’s son was taking frozen food inventory as I walked up. He kept on working but engaged in our conversation as well. He was happy I was coming back especially since I added to his grocery sales each week. We talked about potatoes and he immediately came up with a plan. After my Friday stint he will place the order for Russet potatoes which can be pick up on Saturday.

I found Kelly, Ron’s wife placing labels on the salad bar and brought her up to date. She agreed and said she was glad they were getting involved with One Can A Week again. My last stop was the sandwich ordering counter to pick up a huge empty mayonnaise jar. They make the best collection bins because the size is impressive (see photo above) and being somewhat opaque they hid how much money is inside.  

I really missed the Rincon Market the year they were closed, but this Friday after talking to Ron, Kelly and John again, I realized I missed the Abbott family so much more. 

Sprouts Farmers Market Update

Schools with high percentages of low-income children
can now provide free breakfast and lunch to all students.

24th Truck Load - 2014

For some time now I have been paying attention to the Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. They (USDA) have been testing the program around the country for a few years now but Beginning in the 2014-2015 school year, all schools nationwide that meet the 40 percent identified student threshold will be eligible to participate in this option.” With 71% of the TUSD student population on a partial pay or full subsidized lunch program, we sure as heck will meet the requirements. The enrollment period is open until August 31st for this year.    

Just click on the two links above to get quickly informed on this very important food program for kids. If you know someone in the Tucson school system please check with them to make sure we respond in time to feed our kids in the fall.

I’m one of those “If you want something done right…” folks so call around and get back to me. As they say, opportunity is often disguised as hard work. So let’s get working.

This week’s donations amounted to 634 lbs. and included Sprouts (Speedway), 202 lbs.; Sprouts (Oracle), 176 lbs.; Sprouts (River Road), 142 lbs; and Miles Neighborhood, 114 lbs.

Stressful by Design
Melanie stepped up to the table at Sprouts-Speedway on Saturday and immediately pushed the wicker collection basket further back. She then snatched the $1 dollar bill that usually hangs out of the basket and dropped it on top of the pile of bills in the center.

“There,” she said with a satisfied smile, “that’s much better. You could have lost that $1 bill.”

We have talked a number of times in the past so Melanie was only trying to help. “You know,” I said with a smile, “you just ruined all my marketing. Everything you corrected I do on purpose. The basket is more readily seen hanging a bit over the edge of the table and the $1 bill is a flag to tell folks I take money donations.” As I spoke I put everything back the way it was.

“Well,” Melanie said huffing a bit, “that is very stressful and I cannot look at it.”

She moved to the side of the table and more toward the back so the blue box blocked her line of vision. We talked a few more minutes and she said goodbye.

Some time later Brian the store director came over and I told him the story. He immediately broke into laughter saying, "That's really funny."

Yes it is for folks like us who spend most of our waking hours trying to make display more appealing, attractive and productive. It certainly is not a job for anyone with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) like Monk, the TV detective.

We collected a total of 114 of food. The money we donated amounted to $84.00, two checks for $75.00 and $9.00 in cash.

See you Sunday,


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