At the 2012 neighborhood picnic for Victoria hills, Talbot Hill, and Victoria Park we held an inter-neighborhood food drive challenge raising 503 pounds of canned goods for the Renton Food Bank run by The Salvation Army. Allow me to give you a little back story on this food drive challenge:
In 2011 the City of Renton asked neighborhoods participating in the neighborhood picnics to do some good for the city by doing something to benefit city residents (Adopt a street, run a food drive, volunteer for a cleanup project etc.) At our Victoria Park HOA Board Meeting we elected to do a food drive (in part I think because it was easy and we all were busy) we spoke with the HOA board members for Victoria & Talbot Hills and agreed to announce the food drive. In working with the Salvation Army on the details of what food stuffs were needed, how to get donation barrels, and delivering the donations to the warehouse a curious thing happened; we got excited about helping others, especially as it was our neighbors that had fallen on tough times. While we had collected 150 pounds of food, we knew we could do better, but how?
For this year’s picnic we resolved to do better and we challenged ourselves to find a way to involve more neighbors! Having run sales contests in the past I knew that the “secret” was to appeal to the innate sense of competition that drives so many successful people and we decided to challenge the other neighborhoods that join us at our picnic; whichever neighborhood brought the most food would win. But how would we motivate them; clearly a cash prize was out of the question…so we decided to sponsor a trophy and added an extra incentive; the winning neighborhood wouldn’t have to pitch in funds for the chips at next year’s picnic. Once everyone had agreed to participate the smack talking started and each board worked up a strategy to get their neighbors to participate; signage went up, board members challenged fellow members and neighbors alike.
We received three white barrels, labeled them, and stationed them at the shelter in Thomas Teasdale Park where our picnic was held on August 1st, I must admit to being nervous and really didn’t want to let down the food bank (and more importantly lose to our fellow participants). When Angie showed up with the trophy I was more determined than ever to have VPHOA as the inaugural winner! At first it was fairly quiet, but the folks that did show up were bringing canned goods (a good sign? Please let this work out…). The weather was good and the city volunteers had set up the BBQ and the sausages smelled great, and then it happened, you could almost feel the ground tremble with the unique energy of families and children. It was clear by 6:30 that not only was this going to be the best turnout ever, but that everyone had brought a donation and kids!
The food was good and there were lots of side dishes to share and lemonade to drink, we attracted a number of teens that were playing hoops and football in the park; all were welcome and even surprised that we would allow non-residents to join us. Music was provided by Wayne Bowdle a friend of Angie and John who brought his own DJ rig and played hits for old and young. Norma and Wendy from the city kept things going and the volunteers set up the games including two titanic games of tug of war between our Renton Fire Fighters and about a million kids; round one went to the Fire Fighters but the kids hunkered down and learned from their defeat. Round two went to the kids who dragged the Fire Fighters across the line and sent them back to the station house wondering who these precocious pint size pirates were.
In the end we collected 503 pounds of canned goods and here is where we hope to build on the effort: we the neighborhoods of Victoria Hills, Talbot Hill, and Victoria Park hereby challenge the other neighborhoods of Renton to do better than us! In the remaining 2012 picnics we challenge you to do better than 503 pounds of food, get your game on and do good because in 2013 we are putting our trophy on the line; whichever picnic donates the most food in 2013 gets to have the winning neighborhood’s name engraved on the trophy.
In the name of fun, competiveness, and helping our neighbors; let the smack talking begin!!!
—David Murphy, Renton