Archive for the people Category

turkey time!

Posted in food, food banks, fun, people with tags , , , , , on November 4, 2009 by foodbankguy

It’s officially November, which officially means Thanksgiving turkey and football.  I happen to love both those things, culminating with the 8-legged turkey they used to give out to Barry Sanders every year during the Thanksgiving day football game after he ran for 170 yards or something.  While I never believed in the existance of an 8-legged turkey, I can tell you that I wanted to believe in them more than the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus.  Just seemed like a pretty damned cool idea to me, what can I say?  You gotta believe in something, right?

real turkey


I wish was real turkey... on a side note, this is the best photo of the famed bird I could come up with. come on interwebs, it's like 2010 almost and nobody's bothered to archive a better pic of an 8 legged turkey? for shame...

So sticking with the theme, wouldn’t you like to help out your neighbor with the gift of turkey?  Food banks around Arizona are happy to receive turkey donations for those who might have to go without.  Check out this select list of drop-off points and turkey drives that are just waiting for your participation!  If you know of some others not mentioned here, feel free to send ’em my way and we’ll get the word out!  And if you’ve got a good Barry Sanders or John Madden story, share that as well.


can’t get enough of one-can-a-week

Posted in food drives, fun, people, southern az with tags , , , , , , on September 4, 2009 by foodbankguy

I may have linked to an article before about Peter Norback, a Tucsonan inspired by President Barack Obama’s calls for community service, who decided to organize a weekly canned food donation in his neighborhood.  The concept was incredibly simple:  each week, each house was asked to put out a single can of food and Norback would pick it up and see that it found its way to Tucson’s Community Food Bank.

Before long the media had picked up on the story, one neighborhood become several, others were inspired to do the same in their neighborhoods, and the rest was history.  Norback received a grant to help get the word out about his operation and even got play in the USA Today.  Well now Peter has his own blog where you can follow all of his awesome adventures, so of course I wanted you to be aware of it and maybe even inspire someone out there to follow in his footsteps.  Check out Peter’s blog here.

I’ll also note that Peter is apparently quite the inventor and fan of golden retrievers.  From his blog, you can learn more about and purchase a Top Tag Pet ID–“the first USB complete-care pet ID tag. It was invented and is owned by Peter Norback and Bill Roach. Protect your pet and support Peter’s One Can A Week efforts at the same time.”  That struck me for a couple reasons; one because I grew up with a golden retriver named Phred (yes, Phred… I was weird) who looks just like the one in the photo, and secondly I subscribe to a USB newsletter noted for mentioning every last wacky USB product ever created, but somehow they missed out on this…

reactions to the grind

Posted in economy & politics, people with tags , , , on August 27, 2009 by foodbankguy

I was struck by an article in today’s Arizona Republic about homeowners in limbo and the questionable worthiness of the federal loan remodification program.  Rather than weigh in on the pros or cons of the program, or even the article itself, start reading the comments at the bottom.  While these comments don’t represent a pinnacle of quality debate, and in fact are oftentimes nothing more than virtual mob rule, for this particular article I found them to be an interesting commentary on reactions to the grind.

The current housing market is interesting because it is largely a by-product of unemployment, which also happens to directly affect the demand on food banks.  People lose their home, have their credit ruined, lose their job… chances are they aren’t enjoying fine dining either.  Many people caught in the housing bubble are younger too, meaning they’ve got kids depending on them to eat, and as we all know, poor child nutrition affects school performance, attitude, etc.  But I digress…

What’s interesting to me about these reader comments is the fragmentation of thought and a lack of compassion.  Sure, you’ve got opinions on party lines, people distrusting the government, recognition that some subjects in the article are victims of their own poor decision making, realization that the economy has put most of us in a bind–all to be expected.  I understand that it’s easy enough to get on your high horse posting anonymously on the internet, but there’s something very bitter and defensive about many of these comments.  I simply don’t see people pulling together, encouraging one another, or even just talking about lessons learned.  We’ve become very paranoid of our neighbors, proactively resentful that we might have to help another, and a lack of understanding that we as a society either get through these tough times together or we don’t.  We’ve got to get past the blame.

No doubt this tough economy is a grind, it’s not fun, it’s downright hard labor for many.  But when the gut reaction of so many is contempt, it does make me question not only how long it’s going to take us to get out of this mess but whether we will at all.  Individuals cannot do it alone.  Neighborhoods cannot do it alone.  We’ve got to bite the bullet and pull each other up collectively as a society, as a country.  Who knows, this might be America’s last stand.  I wonder if some type of restorative justice would be appropriate, where those who have negatively impacted our society and the economy via greed or what-have-you–be it individuals, corporations, those who have been bailed out, etc.–can be honest, can be judged, and can ultimately be forgiven so that we can collectively move on.  Seems to me it would help everyone get things off their chest and maybe just maybe, get them to open up and extend a helping hand, and ultimately change cultural behaviors for the better.

unexpected generosity is cool

Posted in aafb, food drives, fun, metro phoenix, people on May 27, 2009 by foodbankguy

This past Saturday I found myself with a table at the Goodyear Swap Meet, ready to talk to passerbys about food banks and hunger issues, as part of their Service to the Community festivities.  Since it was Memorial Day weekend, they invited non-profits of all stripes out to engage the community with volunteer opportunities, learning opportunities, fundraising communities, and more.  While a bit warm, the weather was nice and a decent crowd turned out to see a parade of motorcycle veterans and a surprisingly good live rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.

I’m a bit of a swap meet buff and yard sale buff; what can I say, getting a smokin’ deal and instant gratification beats eBay any day of the week.  Once I scored one of these for $25 which brought me much joy, but I digress.  This time around, after enjoying a gigantic coffee flavored ice cream cone for only $2, I was greeted by Kathy, who put together the event for the Swap Meet.  She had collected five frozen hams, 90lbs of canned goods and an envelope of cash for our cause, all of which were completely unexpected.  Turns out she had done a little preplanning to collect all this for us, and what an awesome surprise it turned out to be.  Big props to Kathy and the kind folks at the Goodyear Swap Meet!

food bank guy in action (not at a swap meet, but this is the best he's got and you get the idea, so deal with it!)

food bank guy in action (not at a swap meet, but this is the best he's got and you get the idea, so deal with it... and yes I'm aware I'm talking about myself in the third person...)


 Now, have you ever tried to fit five hams in a standard size refrigerator freezer before?  I’d like to hear your story!  Thanks to years honing my Tetris skillz, I got ’em in there safe and sound until I could deliver them to St. Mary’s on Monday morning.  In all, 40lbs of ham will help out tremendously, as food banks are always looking for protein sources, since they are oftentimes hard to come by as they are usually perishable, expensive or both. 

An aside:  Have you ever seen the USS Phoenix submarine veteran’s display, complete with at least a 15 foot scale replica on its own dedicated tow trailer?  They were also at the swap meet, about three booths down from me.  Unfortunately, it would appear these gentlemen do not have  a website, although you can catch a glimse of it here.  It literally is mounted to its own tow trailer.  While impressive, more amusing was the PA system they have hooked up to it where they played on a continuous repeat a CD of submarine songs, sung by a guy who sounded like a cross between Johnny Cash and Elvis.  Songs about the captain, songs about being lonely on a submarine, songs about having torpedos fired at you, I’m telling you this CD had it all and we must have heard it 6 times in a row!  Not to mock, but perhaps because of the veterans’ ages, they had their PA blasting under our covered area, cranked to 11.  Right next to them, all of 2 feet away, were some ladies from a private Christian school who were none too pleased… good stuff!

budget update

Posted in budget, economy & politics, people on May 21, 2009 by foodbankguy

Have you been paying attention to all the recent budget activity and actual proposals being discussed?  Exciting times for those of us that collectively make up Arizona’s social services safety net.  While obviously concerned about the rammifications of the budget cuts, so far I’m genuinely optimistic that they’ll do the right thing and balance it with plans for revenue enhancement and long-term strategy.  All the many people who have playfully and not-so-playfully labeled me a realist or pragmatist or buzzkill should find that last sentence funny…

So stay tuned to this and don’t be afraid to raise your voice if you’re feeling so inclined.

Also, I’m going to take this opportunity to whine and complain about the heat.  It’s waaaaaaay to early in the year for this kind of heat, and I’m more sweaty than I like.  But alas, I can’t rant about my plight too much, afterall, try to imagine how bad it is for those who are homeless or have had their electricity turned off because they decided to feed their kids instead…

don stewart assoc fallout

Posted in economy & politics, food banks, people on May 15, 2009 by foodbankguy

Several people have asked me what I think about the Don Stewart Association as protrayed in a recent investigative report by the Arizona Republic (standard tangent:  what, a major daily still does investigative journalism?!).  If you’ve read the report, you know that a couple of his charities are food banks, and many in the food banking community were concerned about the fallout, worried about being lumped together, and generally apprehensive of the uncertainty of it all.  Myself, I was kind of excited to see how everything unfolded, the public response, a potential media frenzy, etc.  If nothing else, I do enjoy watching a good trainwreck from time-to-time!

As it turns out, there really wasn’t much to be concerned about.  The public astutely recognized and frowned upon Don Stewart’s operations without condeming all the food banks and the media reaction was relatively nil.   I had a chance to speak with the author of the piece, Robert Anglen, and he too seemed perhaps a bit dismayed that my phone hadn’t been ringing off the hook.  Ultimately, the story clearly portrayed the questionable but nonetheless legal interworkings of Don Stewart, and it’s my hope those IRS loopholes will be closed… at the end of the day, it was really just another story of when you give some people an inch, they’ll take a mile.

For me, the oddest wtf revelation was the involvement of former Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley, who was recently hired by Don to defend/legitimize/cover for his operations.  I can only guess that poor Rick has forgotten his due diligence skillz or simply needed something to amuse himself with in retirement.

And, just for the hell of it, a random photo, taken by an Erin Taylor at Ag Day 09!

I feel bad for the kid who has to play the tractor...

I feel bad for the kid who has to play the tractor...