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"another can of beans..."

©02 The Media Desk
and the USS RAVEN (IFT)

    The sky was threatening rain and two of the younger members were threatening mutiny, but it was Make a Difference Day after all, and the USS RAVEN (IFT) was going to try to make a difference.

    "Six, eight, nine... and that makes thirteen of that size cans of soup."
    "How many of the big ones?"
    "Give me a chance to count them."

    The goal was to collect canned food, and perhaps some cash donations, to benefit a Dover, Delaware homeless shelter called The Shepherd Place.
    In the winter of 2000 the Shelter suffered a major fire and lost their largest housing unit. It has been rebuilt, and even expanded, but now, there was a new need. With more space comes more clients, and more mouths to feed, more food boxes to send out when clients move into their own places, more of everything.
    The RAVEN was going to try to do their part in meeting that need by collecting non-perishables in front of a local ACME store on that Saturday to Make a Difference.

    "Are canned tomatoes vegetables?"
    "They are now."
    "How about sauerkraut?"

    Some of the others of the crew showed up for an hour here, a couple of hours there. One young member came in clown costume to hand out coloring books to kids.
    The Desk was threatened with demotion for continually throwing rather large and heavy boxes of donated canned goods at the Captain. The second ranking officer became rather adept at 'making the speech' telling incoming shoppers what the group was doing before they could flee into the safety of the store.

    "No no no. Count each kind of noodles separate."
    "There's only one bag of vermicelli."
    "What's vermicelli?"
    "Looks like spaghetti to me."
    "OK. Count it as spaghetti."

    A lady wrote a check for twenty dollars, others put in a handful of change. But most donated a can or two of vegetables or soup or something. Some were more original, like one bottle of gravy. Others more generous, one gentleman gave two cases of sodapop. But it all added up.
    The group ran out of boxes and raided ACME's storeroom. Manager Mike thought that was a good sign. Even though earlier he was a little mystified by the whole thing. Seems that while the event had been approved way on up the chain of command, somebody had forgotten to tell the manager that would be working that day. Things like that happen.

    "OK, how do we figure it up?"
    "These are two for a dollar."
    "Peanut butter is expensive."
    "Some of the spaghetti rings are store brand."
    "Just count the cans of beans."

    When all of the doing and saying was said and done. The cans of tuna counted and the boxes of mashed potatoes tallied and the stuff sort of sorted and stacked. The money was counted and a receipt written. Pictures were taken and handshakes exchanged. They got to the bottom line.
    The bottom line was over twenty boxes full of food that filled three tables and a bookshelf over two feet deep in places. Including Mount Tuna and one can of Beet Salad.

    "OK. We have to count the vacuum cleaner."
    "Why? It ain't food."
    "It was a donation."
    "Suit yourself."

    Altogether the RAVEN collected two hundred and forty eight dollars and change as cash donations to the Shepherd Place Inc. homeless shelter.
    Food donations amounted to just over five hundred dollars estimated value.
    And one Vacuum Cleaner.


[NOTE: The Crew of the USS RAVEN (IFT) would like to thank the management and employees of the Dover ACME food store for their understanding and support for this event. In a small way, we all made a difference that day. Thank you. ]

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