Monday, August 25, 2014

294th Week - One Can A Week Food Donation Program

Hi Folks,

This week's happenings in photos and graphics.

Richard Rodriguez, the Store Director at the Sprouts-Oracle store and his team
built a new and more powerful display for the One Can A Week Program last
Monday. It's working already because the bin was filled up Wednesday morning.

With numbers like this every week, the Community Food Bank decided to set
up a special bin for potato deliveries. Now it's our job to keep that thing stuffed
to the brim.
As this chart indicated, we have only missed the 500 mark four time this year.
Let's keep it that way.
See you Sunday,


Monday, August 18, 2014

293rd Week Update - FINAL - Miles Neighborhood One Can A Week Project

Hi Folks,
We Can't Fix What's Broken,
But the Kids We Feed Will

I don’t know about you, but I often feel I am from another planet. I see behaviors that fascinate me but I do not understand how folks do not sense their overpowering irrationality, insensitivity and hypocrisy. Archbishops live in the lap of luxury yet they are tasked by their deity to serve the poor. Politicians with the Constitution tucked in their lapel pocket spend 80% of their time raising cash to benefit themselves. Military departments give sophisticated weaponry to unstable governments or regimes that turn on us, killing or maiming thousands upon thousands of our soldiers with our own guns and armored vehicles. Then when the soldiers return home, 25% of them have to stand in food bank lines to barely subsist.

Businessmen and businesswomen are no more rational overwhelmed with addictive avarice knowing full well that inequity will eventually dismantle capitalism. They do not care because it will not happen in their lifetime. And the little I can do—confronting those in my sphere of influence every time they tout their entitlement status, which does not make me a popular fellow, by the way—will not do much to correct the situation. Since I do not pretend to understand these things supposed intelligent beings do, I have concluded that I am an alien. What else could it be?

Consequently, I have decided to place my hope for a better Earth on the next generation. The kids, 25% of whom are hungry, need some help gaining access to proper nutrition to facilitate the development of their brains’ potential. To simply discount 25% of a new generation is another one of those human behaviors that baffles me.

For the past five and one half years I have collected food and through my blog tried to excite and encourage people to step up. Even with all of those thousands of words sprinkled with a few good ideas now and again, it has become painfully clear that a weekly reminder to help one another inspired only a very few of the hardiest souls. So I am going to concentrate on personally collecting food in every venue possible in Tucson (see below) and discontinue my weekly email and Google blog.

This will free up more time and energy which should increase the collections. That is my hope.

The One Can A Week Collection Bin
A Most Peasant Reminder

The One Can A Week collection bin is located next to the
appealing canned food display in the newly redesigned
Rincon Market produce department.
The most successful food collection bin is stationed at Sprouts-Speedway. Week in and week out it is filled to the brim with food brought from home and food bought on site. Bill Lohmeier, the security guard has helped increase participation by simply telling customers about the program. When they ask him where the plastic recycle bin is he includes some information on the One Can A Week bin, too. Bill also discovered that the bin looks more attractive and interesting when the plastic bags containing the donations are removed exposing the cans and packages.

Customers entering Chaffin’s Diner are immediately exposed
to the One Can A Week money jar and the food collection
bin. That happens again when they leave with a full tummy.
At testament to Bill’s involvement happened this past Friday at the Rincon Market. A woman and her friend stopped by the display table and she asked, “What’s this? Oh, One Can A Week. I participate at the Sprouts Supermarket on Speedway.”

In the months ahead I will be placing food collection bins in stores, restaurants, offices and clubs all over town. If you would like a bin for your office or have a suggestion, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

As always, thanks for the help.

Sprouts Farmers Market

Rincon Market

Hunger is not a minority problem … it’s America’s problem
Just today Feeding America—the leading  nationwide network of 200 food banks—released its Hunger in America 2014 report. They have published such a report before but this document is their most extensive analysis of hunger in America to date.

Here is a quick top down view of their findings.
·   “Among all clients, 43 percent are white (1 in 10 white people in America), 26 percent are black (1 in 4 black people in America), and 20 percent are Latino (1 in 6 Latinos in America). (Source: US Census Bureau)
·   “10 percent of adult clients are students.”
There are many, many more stomach churning statistics about how we Americans are not actively committed to helping we Americans who are in need. Please review the report and then think about the fact that nobody in America is special when it comes to hunger. It affects everyone. Period.

We collected a total of 140 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $33.00, a $25.00 check and $8.00 in cash.

See you Sunday,


Monday, August 11, 2014

292nd Week Update - Miles Neighborhood One Can A Week Project

Hi Folks,
Win-Win Situation Helps Feed
More Hungry Folks

When American Express introduced gift cheques in 1988 that was the genesis of the gift card phenomenon. Six years later—to deter counterfeit gift certificates—Blockbuster and Neiman Marcus issued plastic gift cards. Then in 1999 Visa initiated open-loop gift cards in the form of a credit card. This lead to closed-loop or specific retailer gift cards. These gift cards are incredibly popular today and for good reason. Consumers can buy exactly what they want without having to faux-smile when they open a gift box stuffed with a reindeer sweater

Businesses like the gift card, too. When donating to a favorite charity they can take full advantage of the charitable deduction. For instance, if a charity needs to up update its computer department, it might ask a local electronics retailer to donate 12 new computers. Instead of just giving the computers to the charity and then taking the tax write-off that only covers the wholesale price, the retailer issues a gift card for the charity to use to purchase all 12 computers at retail.

In this intelligent transaction, the retailer gets a full write-off for the cash value of the closed-loop gift card and then benefits from a 12-computer sale where the normal margin is made. The best part, the charity gets the computers it needs to serve its clients better. This is what is meant by a win-win situation.

Let’s look at this same scenario in a proactive light. A refrigerator company wants to sell a local supermarket a new freezer but the supermarket management isn’t looking to add any debt right now. The refrigerator company gets creative and gets others involved. They buy a closed-end gift card from the supermarket and give it to the local food bank which in turn buys much need food for its clients. The supermarket then buys the freezer from the profits it just made. Everybody is happy including the economy because money is really moving around and making things happen.

Of course it all starts with people who are committed to helping the needy with the tools they have. The refrigerator company has cash but just doesn’t want to donate it. They really want to do sophisticated business and be a good corporate citizen at the same time. Closed-end gift cards give them control meaning they can give a gift that creates more sales and write-offs for them. The supermarket can avoid new debt and increase sales with an up to date freezer. The food bank gets more financially involved in the local economy while feeding more clients higher quality food. Win-win is the order of the day.

Yes, helping folks while doing business is more thought provoking but fun in the long run.  In addition there are a ton of residual benefits. Employees love the company they work for if community service is part of the mix. They become more loyal, happier and more productive which reduces turnover costs, health care costs and training costs. Customers also love and choose retailers who support causes. Again the money keeps moving around when community service is involved.

Or we can table all this talk about business solving many of our social ills and stick with the status quo. What’s wrong with investing in derivatives and just going to lunch? Well, a lot of kids and parents will go hungry and like last time, you’ll probably loose your ass.      

Sprouts Farmers Market

Rincon Market

29th Truck Load – 2014

With vacations and light summertime shopping we still managed to collect a lot of food … 200 lbs. over the truck load cut off, in fact.

This week’s donations amounted to 700 lbs. and included Sprouts (Speedway), 236 lbs.; Sprouts (Oracle), 172 lbs.; Sprouts (River Road), 64 lbs; Rincon Market, 48 lbs.; Shiva Vista, 92 and Miles Neighborhood, 88 lbs.

Time for the Hunger Walk 2014September 20th is the date so mark your calendars. You can pitch in by joining a team, sponsoring a team or just writing a check.

And the walk in Tucson couldn’t be more convenient. It starts at the Kino Sports North Grandstand at 9 am. For those with hardy legs, the long walk is 3.1 miles. The one mile short walk ends at the Community Food Bank followed by a free tour in a cool warehouse. Just click on the Hunger Walk 2014 link to view all of the particulars.

We collected a total of 88 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $29.00, a $25.00 check and $4.00 in cash.

See you Sunday,


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

291st Week Update - Miles Neighborhood One Can A Week Project

Hi Folks,

One Can A Week Works in Neighborhoods,
Schools, Supermarkets, Convenience Stores
and now ... Restaurants.

On Sunday evening I walked Maen Mdanat, the owner of the Axis Food Mart out to my truck in the front of his store. In the bed was four fifty pound bags of potatoes plus eight five pound bags. Maen just bought those spuds with $66.00 he collected in his One Can A Week donation can displayed next to the register. The total weight was 244 lbs. which will probably end up serving more than 600 people.

Maen likes the One Can A Week concept so much that he is always encouraging other small business people he knows to start their own program. “All you do is collect the money,” he says, “call Peter and he buys the food. Then you get the receipt. How simple is that?  You are in complete charge of your own One Can A Week program.”

Chaffin’s Diner
902 E. Broadway
Those words worked on Alex, the owner of Chaffin’s Diner, located at Broadway and S. Tyndall Ave. next to OfficeMax. Alex and I met Thursday and he already had a plan. The food bin will be a convenience for those organizations that meet monthly at the diner. Several bring canned and packaged goods to donate to the Community Food Bank. Now they will be able to leave their donations behind and Alex will see that they are delivered. He also wants the collection jar. He will use that money to buy and donate lots of potatoes which he gets at great wholesale prices. It hadn’t occurred to me until he said it, but restaurants could be as important a source of potatoes as supermarkets.

Alex is looking for a strong community service program where he can help his customers and the community at large. And like Maen, he really appreciated the fact that he takes ownership of his own One Can A Week program and dictates exactly how it will integrate into his business.

Within a week or so One Can A Week will be up and running at Chaffin’s Diner. In the meantime, visit their Facebook page and check out the reviews … which are glowing. “Big portions.” “Great food.” and “Going back soon.” Then stop by for breakfast or lunch and meet Alex. He’s the smiling guy behind the grill who just wants to feed his happy customers … and those folks in need, too.   

Sprouts Farmers Market

Rincon Market

One Can A Week
Set Two New Records

176 Bags of Potatoes in One Week
Beating the Old Record of 133 Bags

1,266 lbs. of Food Donated
Beating the Old Record of 1,146

And probably the best news of all, potatoes now have an inventory stock number at the Community Food Bank. It’s D-3285. Before this week, potatoes were just listed under the general title of produce mostly because the Food Bank did not receive many of those delicious spuds on a consistent basis to warrant much attention. That situation is changing and the Food Bank, known for its highly efficient management of food distribution, plugged potatoes into their system to track every pound donated.

Now One Can A Week can’t let them down. Everyone I talk to wants to help fill up the warehouse because potatoes mean so much to a well balance diet. “They are so necessary and so cheap,” many of my donors say, “here’s a few more bucks.”      

28th Truck Load – 2014

This week’s donations amounted to 1,266 lbs. and included Sprouts (Speedway), 168 lbs.; Sprouts (Oracle), 386 lbs.; Sprouts (River Road), 68 lbs; Rincon Market, 150 lbs.; Ward 6, 52 lbs.; Chaffin’s Diner, 72 lbs. and Miles Neighborhood, 370 lbs.

Everyone’s favorite vegetable
In 2009, the Idaho Potato Commission conducted a survey to discover what was America’s most favorite vegetable. Forget about the obvious conflict of interest, the potato won hands down. And whether there was a survey or not, everyone would have probably guessed that. The reason? “Potatoes are the perfect, blank culinary canvas” These words which start the fifth paragraph on the Idaho Potato Commission’s website say it all. Potatoes taste great plain or with anything else you can imagine.

So why are potatoes in such short supply at the Community Food Bank when the demand is so great? Bill Beatty, the coordinator of the Food Bank’s Agency Market calls them “gold.”

My thinking is potatoes are so ubiquitous in our daily diets that we never stop to ask the question, “Who’s not getting any potatoes?” After all, I’m no better than anyone else. I had no idea about the shortfall until I decided to buy potatoes one day and then weeks later became curious about what was happening to them. That’s the fateful day I met Bill and he enlightened me.

Now it’s our responsibility to fill the void and tell everyone we meet that America’s hungry kids and their parents aren’t getting potatoes … the stuff that built America along with those smoldering steaks.

We collected a total of 370 lbs. of food with Axis Food Mart’s potatoes accounting for 244 of those pounds. The money we donated amounted to $2.00 in cash.

See you Sunday,