217th Week Update – Miles Neighborhood One Can A Week Project
Three UA Campus Pantry board members, John, Beeler, Chairman, Mariel Wilk, Director of Outreach and Michelle Sun, Adviser, greeted fellow students at the second opening of the Campus Pantry last Friday. They also checked in the much needed breakfast cereal donated by the Rincon Market. Davis Bauer, Marketing Director, was present also, but by proxy. He is in the photo held up by Michelle.
Instead of handing out bags or boxes of food, the Pantry wants to make the experience more like shopping at the supermarket. Participants come into the room, show their Cat Card and are handed a paper shopping bag. They are then told to walk around the tables and select one, two or three items depending on the table. There are three tables and plenty of interesting, brand name foods.
As the students leave, they check out by having all of their items entered into a computer. This is for inventory control only. No names are associated with any orders.
The Pantry is new and will grow once they receive their nonprofit status and a permanent location on campus. However, they already have the most important ingredient for success: A very professional and remarkably caring staff.
Jeannette Maré, Ben’s Bells, (left), Lee Wilson, Peter Norback, Bill Carnegie, CEO, Community Food Bank, Lenny Cota-Robles, Jack Parris, Media Relations, Community Food Bank, Barbara Farragut and Kym Fuhrig.
Photo by Laura Sanchez, Community Food Bank
“Is it possible for you to meet me for coffee at the Rincon Market next Tuesday about 8:15 AM? I need the contact information for the U of A Food Pantry and would like to just catch up with you.”
Those are the exact words Bill Carnegie, CEO of the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, used in a February 19 email to set me up. I was all excited because I was going to get a chance to discuss some of my strategic planning for One Can A Week. And since my background is Merrill Lynch corporate I know how important it is to focus on a succinct presentation for a key executive.
I was early but Bill greeted me as he came out of the grocery section of the market with his coffee in hand. That should have tipped me off but I was lost in my focus on the content of our meeting.
He said he didn’t know that the Rincon Market was so big. I offered to show him around and he replied, “Later, let me get some coffee for you first.”
I looked at him and thought, “What about breakfast? I planned on breakfast.”
Coffee is something I don’t like and I don’t drink but the pressure was mounting. I agreed to a cup of decaf to be compliant. After all, I didn’t want to create any ripples even before we started our conversation.
Bill chose the table and the chair facing in. I sat with my back to the food counter and grocery section. He asked me if I had heard about the situation where they found contraband in one of the produce bins. I had no idea so he told me about it. Toward the end of that conversation a blond woman leaned over my shoulder and shook Bill’s hand. Bill said, “You know Jeannette Maré, standing up and gesturing to me.
I stood up and shook her hand trying to place her face. Jeannette then gestured behind me and smiling said, “And you know all these people.”
When I turned I saw Barbara first and said I know her … and as I went down the line, I could see I knew them all. I blinked. “What the heck is going on?’
Than Jeannette took out a rather large Ben’s Bell from a green shopping bag and handed it to me.
Photos soon ensued and that was the best part. I now have a wonderful photo of everyone who has helped me make the Mile Neighborhood One Can A Week program work. I’ll get to talk to Bill again soon but that photo is a once in a lifetime memento. Thanks, Bill, for making it happen.
On Saturday I took Adam for an afternoon walk around the park and on the backside I saw lots of kids flying over the BMX jumps. There was no supervision but everything was methodical and orderly. As a number of riders shot down the dirt mound on the right, others waited and watched at the jumps. I was lucky enough to get a photo of one rider returning from a thrilling ride while another of his friends took flight in the background.
The fellow in the blue shirt under the tree was a bit older and taking videos of the riders as they flew over the obstacles. Although I was off in the distance, I heard one kid say to him as he ended his ride, “This is fun … but it is safe.”
Rocky, the course designer who is currently updating the jumps for the Pima County Flood Control District said that much in our meetings last year when contention—not a BMX biker—was in the air.
Some Saturday afternoon take a walk in the park and see a bunch of really slender kids enjoying the heck out of some major—yet no cost—dirt bumps in the ground. Those bumps, by the way, they hand built themselves. And then consider, if we had more BMXers, we wouldn’t have an overweight kid problem, that’s for sure.
Was Thinking About Calling on You, too
On Friday, Jessie Baxter, Outreach Coordinator for Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva sent me an email asking to be placed on my email list so she “can keep up with all you’ve got going on.”
For the past few months I have been wondering if I should call Congressman Grijalva to tell him about One Can A Week.
Well, thanks to Ms. Baxter, I can start to wonder about something else.
Philosopher on the Road
Mark Evans at the Tucson Citizen website suggested I get in touch with Daniel Becton a gentleman who travels around the country talking to folks in community service.
He runs a family organization called Project Ubuntu. The word Ubuntu whose origin is from the Bantu languages in SouthernAfrica means “my humanity is tied to yours.” Daniel has a degree in philosophy and is writing a book about his experiences. In between bites of my Betty’s Brie sandwich at Beyond Bread, I answered his most interesting question, “what do I think causes man’s inhumanity to man.”
Two words, tribalism and fear, I said. People need to put down other groups to feel better about themselves and they fear everything.
Daniel didn’t ask for any solutions and it’s a good thing because I have none.
The lunch ended when I said I had to leave to go to the UA Campus Pantry. Daniel gave me a can of food which I gladly accepted and I gave him a little advice.
“Daniel,” I said, “everything you do is passive. In your travels you see lots going on, select something and become active. Connect folks, help folks, bring folks together who can help each other. Your life will have much more meaning.”
I got that from my dad who also had a degree in philosophy. He asked me lots of time, “So … what are you going to do?”
Best question ever.
Bringing cans to the office really works for Ward 6
Molly Thrasher, our One Can A Week videographer, sent me an email today asking for a food pickup at Councilman Kozachik’s office. The collection bins near the front door were overflowing as was a huge box in the supply closet.
The key to their success is Ward 6 asks folks who use the free meeting rooms to donate at least one can of food per meeting. Over time, it appears, the suggested donation turned into a goodwill gesture on the part of the meeting attendees to pay for the privilege of using the very pleasant accommodations. And one can is just not enough. Bags of food are dropped off, also.
So donating cans at the office for the Food Bank is just not enough motivation. And often those cans are forgotten at home, too. However, cans that become a mechanism to express thanks and gratitude for services that are offered free, stack up high in the office entrance way. Fascinating.
We collected a total of 178 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $32.00, a $25.00 check and $7.50 in cash.
See you Sunday,