Did we meet our goal? I hate to leave you in suspense (lying -- I'm doing it on purpose because I love leaving you in suspense. It's good dramatic technique), but I want to take a moment and recount our efforts and plans, celebrate a battle well fought.
The first thing I did was go to my students. We got ramped up, excited, ready to roll. I tasked students to set a goal of cans or dollars collected, got one of the instructors to coordinate, put up a barrel in the lobby. The cans trickled in from that, sometimes pouring in fast. One of our students was single-handedly responsible for bringing in more than 1500 pounds of food.
The second thing I did was go to other local businesses. UBBT brother Dan Sikkens and his school got their own collection groove on. Ernie Reyes Martial Arts, Family Kicks Tae Kwon Do and Dragon Tiger Tae Kwon Do soon agreed to host barrels in their lobbies. Stellar Performance Dance Academy and the Gym Nest, local schools in similar industries, also got in on the act.
The third thing I did was go to the schools. I talked to teachers of my leadership team about letting my student lead a food drive in their classroom, leading their classmates to meet a goal of 100 or even 500 cans. I was a bit disappointed in the response. It seems our school district does a food drive of their own each December and the schools are graded on the amount they collect. Many principals were afraid to jeopardize their own numbers and put the kibosh on the plan. Some were willing to participate anyway, and a number of teachers went to bat for the experience. At the end, we had several classrooms participate.
Next year, I'll dovetail the project in as part of the district's own food drive so as to avoid the conflict, or maybe just do our drive in the spring.
The fourth thing I did I've journaled before. Armed with our cardboard sign "Will teach karate for food", we stationed ourselves outside three different grocery stores and offered two weeks free karate to anybody who donated. I have to tell you I was touched and overwhelmed by the immense response to those events. If you live in the Portland, Oregon area you should ought to shop at Albertsons. Seriously, those guys rock.
The fifth thing I did was put out an ad campaign offering free lessons to anybody who came in with a food donation.
The sixth thing I did was to put collection baskets for change in a few local shops. The local Shell Station and Jan's Paperbacks both collected a shocking amount of change and small bills in just a couple of days. Who would have thought a used book store could collect enough money in a week to buy 350 pounds of food?
It was a fun ride, three months of watching my students become prouder and prouder as the stack of cans grew and grew. I had to empty my lobby and drop off donations four times.
The final tally? Let me break it down for you...
- Our first dropoff (late October) was 3339 pounds.
- Our second dropoff (just before Thanksgiving) was 1213 pounds.
- Our third dropoff (mid December) was 1466 pounds.
- Aim High Martial Arts (our UBBT brothers) collected 1600 pounds.
- Our fourth dropoff (this week) was just 230 pounds of food, but included enough cash to buy 2287 pounds.
Final total: 10,135 pounds. That's just over 5 TONS of food. By way of comparison, that school district food drive I mentioned? They collected 73,601 pounds. That's the whole district in a town pushing 100,000 people.
I can't tell you how proud and pleased I am at what my students and colleagues were able to accomplish. Thank you all.