Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Useful Brown Paper Bag

"Grocery bags must always have a lengthy baguette or a stalk of celery springing from the top to let us -- the uneducated viewer -- know that this is, in fact, a grocery bag."   Forbes (from "Things that Only Happen in Hollywood Movies")

Photo: Roadrunner Food Bank
There was a brown paper grocery bag inserted in between the Metro and the Sports sections of The Albuquerque Journal  on Saturday morning. This was a gentle reminder that that our friendly letter carriers would be holding their annual Thanksgiving food drive on Saturday, November 22. The food drive sponsored by the National Association of Letter Carriers and the Rural Letter Carriers Association has traditionally served as an opportunity for folks in Albuquerque and elsewhere to donate non-perishable food items during the holidays.

The bag itself can serve as a vessel to fill with non-perishable food items and kid-friendly foods to be left by the mail box on November 22, taken to a local post office or to Smith's grocery stores (one of the sponsors of the holiday food drive). The bag also has an important request: Please do not donate homemade items.   

The surface of the bag was also chock full of information about the broader holiday food drive sponsored by Roadrunner Food Bank and a dozen or so local businesses. This includes opportunities to help sort the food collected by our friendly letter carriers (or dropped off at the post office) either at a post office or at Roadrunner Food Bank on Sunday, November 23. Click here to register for available volunteer opportunities.

Another prominent feature in the paper bag was a box with digital opportunities to contribute financially, with the message, "Your $1 gift allows us to distribute 5 meals." There are opportunities to give online, to donate via Text message (Text RRFB to 2022 to generate a $10 donation). As an alternative, there is  digital bar code allowing the public to donate to Roadrunner Food Bank via QR code. These scan codes are increasingly becoming a fact of life. (On a recent flight, many passengers presented a bar code on their cell phone to board the airplane!).

So what other information was on the paper bag? There are opportunities to:
  • Donate Holiday Turkeys and hams (accepted at Roadrunner Food Bank, M-F, 8:00 am-4:00 pm). 
  • Organize an online food drive with co-workers, family and friends
  • Learn about hunger in New Mexico (with information from Feeding America)
The flip side of a bag has a handy timeline of Holiday Food & Fund Drive Dates.  November 22 is an important date for the holiday drive. In addition to the letter carriers drive, ABQ Uptown will hold its own food drive among its shoppers. And one TV station (KOB TV) and two radio stations (92.3 NASH FM and 93.3 KOB FM) will host Roadrunner Food Bank's Live Broadcast at 5:00 p.m.). And looking ahead beyond  the holidays, there is Souper Bowl  2015 on Saturday, January 24 (advance tickets available).

Isn't it amazing how much good information a brown paper bag can hold? That's an important reason why The Albuquerque Journal and food drive sponsors used paper instead of plastic to convey information about the Holiday Food Drive. And even though a thin plastic surface is not a useful tool to convey information, you can fill two or three bags with non-perishable food items. (Many communities around the country are banning plastic bags for environmental reasons, but that is a theme for another time).

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