55th Week Update – Miles Neighborhood Food Collection Projectby Peter Norback on Jan. 25, 2010, under Life
They Are As Good As We Think
How an individual—or an organization for that matter—faces and fixes errors is probably the best indicator of that individual’s true character. On the other hand, if the sailing is always smooth in a relationship one can never predict outcomes when storm winds begin to blow.
On the 14th of January George saw me on the street and stopped me. He said he had not received a receipt from the Community Food Bank for his donation I dropped off in November. Later that day I sent an email to Pauline Hechler, VP of Development and she responded to George in a matter of minutes and shortly there after to me.
“We’re running about two weeks behind on receipts, Peter. This time of year is tough, as some days we have had as many as 1,000 gifts. I have left George a message thanking him for his patience.
P.S. During normal times, we have receipts and thank-yous out within 48 hours.”
Right after the weigh-in I asked both Howard and Keith if they remembered the donation form. And they did, right down to the last detail. Howard had talked to accounting last week and told Keith to call right now to get a definitive answer. Keith did. They could not locate the donation form and surmised that it was discarded and shredded along with other financial materials. They always shred their documents and papers. So the donation form is gone forever.
I was really impressed with how Howard and Keith took command of the situation and remembered the entire episode. They reminded me of the corporate executive who was asked why he never took notes in meetings. He replied, “I don’t have to, I never lie.”
As we parted I said I would personally walk the check through and get him his donation receipt. This made him smile. I’m glad it did but I am serious about the walking thing and have an appointment to meet Pauline at 9 am.
Like most people in the world, I’m not fond of confrontations but I’m glad I had this one. I’m really fond of the Community Food Bank and all of the folks who work there. They make me proud to know them mostly because they really do have character.
While Richard and I spoke, a lady on her way out of the door asked me if I took change as a donation and when I said yes, she immediately turned her purse over and dumped lots of coins in the green box on the table. Later I counted it…$4.01, mostly in quarters and dimes.
Mavis came back and told me a story about how her dad collected donations for his church and he always “primed the pump” so to speak and placed a few of his bills and coins in the collection basket. She suggested I show some cans on the table which I did right away.
Since I noticed cash donations were out stripping the food donations, I also put out a plate displaying a handful of that lady’s change and a dollar bill. The very next donation was a $20 bill.
After his breakfast, another gentleman walked over and said he had a few cans in the car and would go get them. He came right back but I did not have the heart to tell him that he was supposed to buy his donated cans in the grocery store on the other side of the restaurant. I guess it’ll just take a little time for folks to make the connection.
For lunch I ordered a very tasty turkey sandwich and sat at a table about 15 feet from our display. As I looked around at the other diners in the restaurant I realized that this was going to be a very pleasant way to spend a Saturday collecting food and donations for the Community Food Bank. The best part is I never have to be concerned about the weather.
See you Sunday,