West Seattle Food Bank follow-up: Donate at your door!

Since we reported yesterday on the West Seattle Food Bank‘s request for immediate help — we have already heard of some people stepping up in ways big and small, all helpful. (Read the original report here.) That includes at least one business joining the cause — Garlic Jim’s Pizza proprietor Ryan Reese says he’s going to print up 3,000 coupons offering $3 off pizza deliveries for customers who donate at least three canned/nonperishable food items — giving the donations to the GJ’s drivers who shows up at their door. They bring you the pizza, you give them donations for the WSFB; as Ryan puts it, “how easy is that!” He’s planning on sending the coupons out for printing this afternoon after the Food Bank folks take a look at it this morning. 3,000 coupons=at least 9,000 items for the Food Bank! (And remember the online donation link here.)

27 Replies to "West Seattle Food Bank follow-up: Donate at your door!"

  • TD October 23, 2007 (8:08 am)

    Brilliant idea! I am very impressed by this great marketing concept. What a terrific way to support the West Seattle Food Bank and get one of the yummiest pizzas in West Seattle – on sale! Thank you Garlic Jims! I hope more businesses can step up to the plate with ideas like this between now and Thanksgiving. What about encouraging kids to bring a canned good and dropping it in a box at Garlic Jims during the halloween celebrations this Saturday…

  • Christopher Boffoli October 23, 2007 (8:50 am)

    Not to diminish the gesture on the part of Mr. Reese, but he’s got entirely the wrong idea. I don’t believe that people should be bribed or compensated to give philanthropically. We should give purely to help others. Americans give more annually in both private philanthropic support and foreign aid than any other country in the world. We shouldn’t do it because we’re going to receive some kind of reward or recognition in return.

  • Denny October 23, 2007 (9:17 am)

    lots of businesses make offers like this and it generates awareness for the people who were already going to buy. if you don’t like their pizza don’t buy it. americans are very generous, but more than a few West Seattleites are cheap and looking for a deal – even when donating.

  • JumboJim October 23, 2007 (10:42 am)

    Christopher, you can take the high road if you want; nothing wrong with that. BUT, if I were a food bank customer I’d rather have something given as a result of a coupon promo than nothing at all and having this sort of promo doesn’t stop anyone from giving purely from the heart.

  • Andre October 23, 2007 (12:16 pm)

    I think the comparison of the US giving to other countries is a bit unfair. The US as a country does not have a “social net” as many European countries do (I know for sure that this is at least the case for Germany and most of the Scandinavian countries). These countries pay way more taxes than US residents. A big chunk of this money goes to supporting the ones who need support via rich, public social services. At least from my observation it seems to create a more balanced social structure than what I see in the US (even though this system is not without flaws…).
    That said, I’ve been very impressed by the amount of private donations and the kind of more involved support (like Big Brother, Big Sisters) in the US for the ones who need it.

  • Christopher Boffoli October 23, 2007 (12:18 pm)

    JJ: It’s not really about me taking the high road. I just wanted to voice an opinion about how important philanthropy is, or should be, and how there should be more to it than an afterthought or to save $3 on a pizza. Why not forgo the pizza altogether and give that $15 to the food bank?

    You can make a convincing argument when you say that “something is better than nothing.” But when you get people used to getting something in return for giving philanthropically you water down the whole idea of giving and, I think, weaken the concept of being selfless and trying to help other people who are less fortunate.

  • David October 23, 2007 (12:21 pm)

    It sounds to me like Mr. Reese is just trying to give back to the West Seattle community and I think it’s great to see local business owners taking the time to promote charitable organizations. I have been to Garlic Jim’s a few times since they opened earlier this year and think they make great pizza. Reading an article like this makes me think they have a great owner too. I say, keep up the good work Mr. Reese.

  • Jessie October 23, 2007 (12:27 pm)

    I think that this is a great idea!! Ryan Reese is stepping up where it appears that not too many other business owners are. He is simply encouraging people who may want to give by making it easier for them. These donations may seem small on an individual basis but 9,000 items of food is ALOT no matter how it is recieved!
    Way to go Ryan!! You have been doing a great job of becoming involved and showing that you care about the neighborhood.

  • misty October 23, 2007 (12:54 pm)

    Yes, there are many events that encourage families to bring canned foods which will be donated to certain organizations and in turn people save a buck or two on the admission to the event. (For example, family nights at the YMCA ask people to bring cans of food or pay an admission charge….). I am all for coming up with crafty ways to entice people to give back to their community. And Christopher, I do agree that it would be great if people donated with “no strings attached” but I think that may only be achieved in a perfect world.

  • Christopher Boffoli October 23, 2007 (1:21 pm)

    Andre: Trust me as someone who spent more than a decade working in private philanthropy in the US and abroad. Americans give away more money by far than anyone else. Even when you strip out US foreign aid (funded with tax dollars) and religious fundraising, when it comes to charity the USA is a powerhouse. You’re on the right track in noting that country-to-country (and economy to economy) comparisons are tricky. And you’re correct in noting that our lack of a Socialized government and a tax code that is pro-philanthropy does help. But our national tradition of generosity is undeniable.

  • RS October 23, 2007 (3:12 pm)

    As individuals, we may be great at philanthropy and local community support. But we have to be careful not to further prop up the idea that “America” leads the world in foreign assistance. In polls Americans regularly guess that the US gives between 15 and 25% of it’s annual budget in aid to developing countries when the reality is we give less than 1%, way behind the rest of the “developed” world and behind what the UN has called for from all member states. In pure dollar amounts the US looks generous, but if you look at direct assistance as a percentage of our GNP, the US is almost always dead last. I guess its because we’re spending so much money on social services for our own poor. *snort*
    Sorry for the rant, it’s a pet peeve.

  • Christopher Boffoli October 23, 2007 (3:50 pm)

    RS: Not sure from where you are drawing your statistics but according to the Center for Philanthropy at Indiana University and Philanthropy UK, the USA gave away $295.02 billion in private philanthropy in 2006 which is 2.2 percent of GDP (up from a 40 year average that hover around 2%). Those same websites show the UK at 1.1% of GDP, Germany at 0.7% and the Netherlands at 0.9%. And if it is not enough of an incitement to some to hear one positive thing about the US, we also consistently have the highest worker productivity and we’ve won the majority of Nobel Prizes, Fields Medals and the most Olympic medals. Flame away :-)

  • Christopher Boffoli October 23, 2007 (3:53 pm)

    RS: Not sure from where you are drawing your statistics but according to the Center for Philanthropy at Indiana University and Philanthropy UK, the USA gave away $295.02 billion in private philanthropy in 2006 which is 2.2 percent of GDP (up from a 40 year average that hover around 2%). Those same websites show the UK at 1.1% of GDP, Germany at 0.7% and the Netherlands at 0.9%. Obviously, as the extent of philanthropy for some is their goal to get $3 off a pizza, we could do better.

    If it is not enough of an incitement to some to hear one positive about the US, we also consistently have the highest worker productivity and we’ve won the majority of Nobel Prizes, Fields Medals and Olympic medals. Flame away. :-)

  • David October 23, 2007 (4:55 pm)

    Christopher: I don’t know why you decided to turn
    this story into a debate about charitable donations in the U.S. But It seems to me that if you spent half the time you do spouting off charity statistics actually contributing to charitable organizations, you might do some good, instead of just standing on the sidelines and critiquing the efforts of others.

  • Kayleigh October 23, 2007 (5:41 pm)

    Thank you, Garlic Jim’s, for doing something positive for the commmunity. I haven’t tried your pizza yet but you’ve given me some motivation. :-)

  • JE October 23, 2007 (5:43 pm)

    Charity jingoism–how icky…

  • Christopher Boffoli October 23, 2007 (5:43 pm)

    David: If you’ll take the time to read back through the comments I was simply making a point that philanthropy is important and something a lot of Americans do. It was others who challenged my statements.

    My original point is that we should give without getting something tangible in return. On that note, I called Garlic Jim’s today and they told me that the most expensive pizza on their menu is the extra-large ultimate pizza at $21.99. I’d like to challenge all of the commenters here: Debby, TD, Denny, JumboJim, Andre, Jessie, Misty, RS, and you David to join me by each of you giving $21.99 to the West Seattle Food Bank. I’ll offer to match each of your gifts 1:1. Any takers?

  • RS October 23, 2007 (6:08 pm)

    Christopher- I wasn’t challenging your statement, just drawing a distinction between private philanthropy and public foreign assistance. My stats are coming from the Organization for Economic Development Co-operation and Development (www.OECD.org) which monitors direct foreign assistance.
    I just brought it up because championing the “tradition of generosity” is one thing if you’re talking about an individual volunteering at a soup kitchen or giving to the red cross, but many people assume that this generosity is also represented by our government’s policies towards less developed countries- which it certainly is not, at least not compared to other wealthy nations.

  • RS October 23, 2007 (6:12 pm)

    Sorry- long day, that’s Organization for Economic Development and Co-operation. OECD. And I’m not dissing philanthropy, by the way. I’m in the business as well. :)

  • Christopher Boffoli October 23, 2007 (6:36 pm)

    RS: Ah. I was talking about private philanthropy. I realize now that you were talking more about foreign aid which is much more complicated and less defensible as it is often doled out for tactical or political advantage and is, as you suggested, large in amount but paltry as a percentage of GNI.

  • SomeGuy October 23, 2007 (6:47 pm)

    Lighten up Francis.

  • The Velvet Bulldog October 23, 2007 (6:52 pm)

    Hi Christopher et al: I’ve been in non-profit development for some time now (including a number of years helping out the West Seattle Food Bank.) It would be FABULOUS if philanthropy came easily and straight from the heart and everyone did it simply for the act of doing good. (And gloriously, some do.) However, the reality is that it’s not that easy for everyone all the time; often you have to offer an incentive to pique a potential donor’s interest. Non-profits have gotten very good at finding business partners help them get the word out and bring money in. What is an auction but partnering with people/businesses who donate goods that are offered to people as an incentive to give money. That money goes to the non-profit, but the bidders are getting something for it. As the pot of available funds gets smaller, organizations have to get more creative to get a bit of that money. I thank Garlic Jim’s for making an offer to help the Food Bank, and I also give major props to Christopher Boffoli for his generous matching offer to donate funds directly to the Food Bank. THAT rocks.

  • Christopher Boffoli October 23, 2007 (8:41 pm)

    Velvet Bulldog: Nicely said. But c’mon….you have to admit that a nice, clean, unrestricted, current-use gift is a beautiful thing. No messing around with donor premiums and IRS accounting of the value of what the donor is getting in return. Just a simple, straightforward 100% gift.

    SomeGuy: Ha-ha-ha. “No one calls me Francis! It’s Psycho. Anyone calls me Francis….and I’ll kill ya.”

    Still waiting for folks to step up with gifts to match. I went ahead and made my own gift to the WS Food Bank. Who wants to join me? Let’s go all you Garlic Jim’s pizza eaters! Step up to the plate!

    Anyone? Silence. Crickets.

  • The House October 23, 2007 (8:49 pm)

    Chris, even I’m going to order a GJ pizza and hand over a bunch of cans to the delivery guy. I don’t agree with bashing Mr. Reese for doing something that helps the community.

  • The House October 23, 2007 (8:52 pm)

    Oh and your challenge to match everyone is a form of bribe as well.

  • The Velvet Bulldog October 23, 2007 (9:28 pm)

    Hi Christopher: I’m completely agreeing with you that a direct cash gift is the best way to go, it just doesn’t happen very often. I’m just sayin’… Also, the only reason I’m not doing the pizza thang is because I DO give money and time directly to the Food Bank, and maybe the others are too.

  • Christopher Boffoli October 23, 2007 (10:44 pm)

    House: I disagree that I was “bashing” Mr. Reese. In fact, I clearly said I did not wish to diminish his gesture. I was trying to make a point (perhaps not very effectively) that the West Seattle Food Bank is worthy of supporting without having such support attached to some other business transaction or reward for the donor. And my pledge to match any gifts is in no way a bribe. I gain nothing from it. I’m certainly not doing it to sell any pizzas or to write off the marketing cost of printing up a bunch of coupons. Robert felt the need to call me out so I responded to his challenge by making a gift today to the WSFB and then offering to match the gifts of any of the commenters here.

Sorry, comment time is over.