Tuesday, July 29, 2014

290th Week Update - Miles Neighborhood One Can A Week Project

Hi Folks,
Potatoes ... Who Knew?

The current weekly record for donated five pound bags of potatoes stands at 133.
The goal is 300 bags per week.
The numbers are so huge they are daunting. Over 46 million folks are hungry in America. That is the population of California and Virginia combined. The only real cure is a higher living wage and more useful jobs like fixing our decaying roads and bridges. In the meantime while waiting for those in power to accept the responsibility we gave them, we have to try to do something on our own.

For the past five and one half years my volunteers and I have been gathering as much food as possible and taking it to the Community Food Bank each week. This is a bit of a black hole because there seems to be no end in sight. Then I discovered by chance that the 140 Soup Kitchens in Tucson really need potatoes, something so common in our daily diets that no one ever stopped to ask. One day at Sprouts I noticed the potatoes were on sale for about 34 cents a pound. I normally purchased canned black beans at 89 cents a pound. I though switching to a wholesome carb would be a great way to increase the poundage. And anyway, who doesn’t like potatoes.

After the second or third deliver to the Community Food Bank’s Agency Market, Bill, the coordinator told me about the great potato shortage. This gave me a whole new Raison d'etre ... a whole new purpose. Instead of trying to fill an endless gap I now have a goal. Three hundred five pound bags of potatoes a week. This will meet the needs of the 140 Soup Kitchens.

To make it happen I have to make some changes. A sponsor is not on the horizon so I must cut as many expenses as possible out of my social security budget. And things have been working out well. Cookies are gone from my diet which has the added benefit of reducing my weight 14 pounds. So are lunches at places like Beyond Bread and Subway. The extra money is needed for gas because I now work a total of 21 hours a week, 15 at the four supermarkets … Sprouts plus the Rincon Market. And the potato count is going up. 

Since I cannot purchase the signage for the shopping carts and hand baskets any time soon, I have to come up with new marketing tools to engage more shoppers. This in turn will buy more potatoes. When I tell folks about the 140 Soup Kitchens in Tucson and who they serve … mostly older women and kids … donors often reach deeper into their wallets. It’s true. On several occasions people have dropped a dollar in the basket but when they hear who they are helping and how, they pull out a much bigger bill to add to the pile in the basket.

I’ve been reenergized now that I know I can solve one food dilemma for kids and older women who rely on daily meals from the mostly faith based kitchen around the city. And the more people I talk to about my quest, the more potatoes end up in shopping carts destine for the Community Food Bank. Of course the hunger problem in Tucson and America is overwhelming, but one small success will sure feel good.

Sprouts Farmers Market

Sprouts-Speedway and its customers celebrate their First One Can A Week Anniversary today. The donations to the Community Food Bank totaled 8,688 lbs. That’s a bit over four tons. Add those pounds to what Sprouts-Oracle and Sprouts-River Road have collected in less than one year and the number jumps to 17,109 lbs. A whopping 8.5 tons.

The best part is Sprouts Farmers Market is just doing business as usual and at the same time they are helping solve one of America’s most troubling social problems … hungry kids and their parents.

Rincon Market
Now that the Rincon Market is back online we now have a chance to reach our goal of 300 five pound bags of potatoes per week.  Their first donation to the Community Food Bank was 41 bags. This is more than a big help. It’s nearly 13% of our goal. Amazing.

27th Truck Load – 2014
 This is the 31st week of the year and so far, as the number indicates above, we have donated over 500 lbs. per week for most of them. Right now our total truck load donations stands at 21, 958 lbs. If we stay on course, we will end up donating almost 39,000 lbs. of food this year. Since it took over five and one half years for the Miles Neighborhood on its own to donate 64,914 lbs., we’re doing more than great.  Of course, we couldn’t capture such great truck load numbers without the consistent help and super support of our Miles neighbors. That’s a fact.

This week’s donations amounted to 876 lbs. and included Sprouts (Speedway), 190 lbs.; Sprouts (Oracle), 114 lbs.; Sprouts (River Road), 170 lbs; Rincon Market, 296 lbs. and Miles Neighborhood, 106 lbs.

Why We Can’t Let One Kid Go Hungry
If nearly one in four children is hungry in Tucson that means 25% of our population won’t reach its full potential. This fact always gets to me when I read stories on the web about kids doing incredible things just because they are well taken care of and encouraged to be the best they can be. Sam Gordon is one of those kids.

A couple of years ago you met Sam because she was all over the news. She was nine at the time and played youth football with the boys. Her claim to fame is she is incredibly agile and incredibly fast. The guys could not catch her. So she gained over 1,000 yards on the ground.

Well, Sam Gordon is now eleven and will be playing football again with the boys this fall. Check out her latest video at the University of Michigan football training camp.

Folks asked her if she were worried about being hurt. She replied, “If they can’t catch me, they can’t hurt me.”

Unfortunately every hungry kid in Tucson can be caught and that is what hurts me. They just don’t have a chance to develop into the super stars each was born to be.  

We collected a total of 106 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $26.00, a $25.00 check and $1.00 in cash.

See you Sunday,


No comments:

Post a Comment