Potatoes are delivered twice a week to the Community Food Bank. The Thursday delivery was 354 lbs. On Monday 478 lbs. (photo above) were donated bringing the weekly total to 832 lbs. That is 166 5 lb. bags of potatoes. Another way to look at it is dinners served. Since there are approximately 14 potatoes per bag, 2,324 parents and kids will have a delicious Sprouts or Rincon Market baked potato this week.
With a goal of approximately 4,200 Agency Market folks to feed weekly, we still have some distance to go.
A very large rain storm hit Tucson and Phoenix a week ago causing a great deal of flooding. This week there was to be a repeat performance beginning on Wednesday. Folks took heed of the warning and stayed home. Although the heavy rains never arrived, the mere threat of trouble severely dampened the donations at Sprouts-Oracle and Sprouts-River Road. Instead of the usual 400 lbs. plus of food collected at these two supermarkets, I ended up with only 150 lbs.
Although the skies were not sunny and bright Friday and Saturday, things began to appear brighter, at least with respect to One Can A Week donations. The Rincon Market collected enough money to buy 100 lbs. of potatoes. The Miles School called and they had 116 lbs. for me to pick up. Ward 6 also had 50 lbs. to add to this week's totals.
The big surprise, even under somewhat threatening skies, was Sprouts-Speedway. All morning long folks were dropping large bills in the basket. One woman said she had been planning to donate weeks ago but forgot. The $20 bill she handed me was her way of "catching up." When it was time to fold my display table and buy the potatoes, customers had donated $128.00.
Friday morning I had 150 lbs. of food. By Sunday afternoon the total was 1,024 lbs. I have no idea how that happens. All I do is show up when I am supposed to.
On Monday the 8th, Bill the security guard at Sprouts-Speedway called to say the donations in the food bin were piling up. Those were picked up Tuesday. On Saturday the bin was again filled with donations. Those were taken at the end of the regular Saturday morning food collection stint. No potatoes were purchase at that time, however, because I collected too much money and they had too few bags. Sunday morning they would replenish their supplies.
After collecting the Miles Neighborhood donations in the early afternoon on Sunday I drove to Sprouts-Speedway to buy 34 bags of potatoes. When I arrived I met Bill at the front door and he was all smiles. "Look at this," he said pointing to the full food bin, "there's even a brand new cute stuffed toy for some lucky child."
Three food bin pick ups, 34 bags of potatoes and one enchanted plush toy tipped the scales at 350 lbs. this week. Bill has a lot to do with the giving energy at Sprouts-Speedway because he is always explaining One Can A Week to customer who stop to ask him questions. He makes it part of the conversation even if they just ask for the location of the plastic recycle bin.
Bill proves again that caring just a little bit every day feeds a whole lot of hungry folks.
Now we have displays at Sprouts-Speedway, Sprouts-Oracle and Sprouts-River Road. And the best part is each of those displays encourages and collects food for the Community Food Bank 24/7.
The Axis Food Mart
One Can A Week Strategy
Maen Mdanat, the owner of the Axis Food Mart installed a Community Food Bank coffee tin collection canister on his counter soon after opening in 2010. The canister has some wear and tear from folks stuffing coins and bills into it over the years, yet it still produces healthy donations every month. With the emphasis now on buying potatoes, Maen suggested to a number of his retail store friends that they should get involved, too. The first round of donations were picked up last last week and together, Chaffin's Diner, Axis and the Maui Smoke Shop collected enough money to buy 101 bags of potatoes. When added to the Sprouts Supermarket and Rincon Market donations, we collected a total of 258 bags of potatoes. That's a major new record. (See chart below.)
That goal of 300 bags of potatoes per week does not look as daunting. We just have to get a dozen or so more of Maen's store owner friends collecting donations. Piece of potato cake.
Another record collection week
In Week 291 we set a collection record of 1,266 lbs. This week we surpassed that record by 251 lbs. I thought I might be maxing out but Maen's idea is setting the bar even higher. Change is always good and in this case, it feeds more folks.
The Eyes Don't Have It - In an attempt to attract a little more attention to the potato program I created a potato bag with lots of eyes. The accompanying sign read: "Free tour of the Community Food Bank ... and a KISS (Hersey) if you guess there are 140 all-seeing eyes on the One Can A Week bag of potatoes." A few folks were curious enough to venture close enough to see what was going on. They stepped up to the table, leaned forward, smiled and then snatched a Hersey kiss as they straightened up and walked away. This happened at all three Sprouts and the Rincon Market. Next!
A Faster Read - No bending over required to get this newest marketing endeavor. In fact the signs: "Share In Box and Share Out Box" can be read quickly at 10 feet. The next thing I learned was that young and even the elderly could resist the lure of Hersey's chocolate. "No I shouldn't," was the standard reply.
On Saturday at Sprouts-Speedway I added bite sized Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and that did the trick. Now potential donors replied, "These are my favorite." A second or two later we were talking potatoes.
Hard Working Design - The new display at Sprouts-Oracle changed the donation dynamic in just one week. Now sold Sprouts products make up about 75% of the food in the bin whereas in past weeks food brought from home dominated the space. This is capitalism at its finest.