Thursday, July 21, 2011

Making A Difference One Canned Good At A Time

by Cyrus Webb

So many times we get so caught up in our own problems that we forget about the hardships and daily struggles of those around us. Not Tony Marren. He has spent over 20 years volunteering to help feed people that are struggling to put food on the table. Then in 2009 he formed Operation Just One Can ( with the objective of showing what we can do with literally one can of food or the change in our pockets.

Tony and his organization came to my attention in June as I was searching for story ideas for Conversations LIVE and this publication. After reading about his cause and talking with him about his goals, it was obvious to see that this was something he was not only passionate about but realized the importance of sharing it with as many people as possible in order to have the largest impact.

I was sold, and started looking for ways that I along with Shadow Play Entertainment (the parent company of the Conversations brand) could help. It occurred to me that as Tony stated, we can make a difference where we are right now. It doesn't have to be a large food drive. It begins with one person, with YOU.

As a way of jump starting my effort to help Tony get the word out about Operation Just One Can I posted his logo and a link to his site on all of Conversations' primary sites:,, and I also decided that Conversations Magazine would donate a 1/2 color ad space (a $250 value) to promote Operation Just One Can in each issue for the rest of the year.

That took care of the easiest part.

I then called up a good friend of mine---Eddie Sandifer---who for the past 17 years has worked with the Southern AIDS Commission. One of the components of their work is to offer a food pantry for those living with HIV and AIDS. I had worked with Eddie a few years ago, and saw this call to action by Tony as a way for us to reconnect.

I have now committed to donate 50 canned goods a month to Southern AIDS Commission beginning August 1, 2011. That is the least I can do to make a difference in the life of someone in need. What about you? What can you do to make a difference?

For starters visit to find out more about Tony and the ways you can help. Maybe it can be your finding a worthy cause in your area and helping it in your own way. For some it could be a civic or religious organization that can band together to address a problem you see.

The lesson for me is that no matter what you choose to do, make sure you do something. That is the only way that problems can be addressed and erased.

A big thanks goes out to Tony Marren for using his own example as a blueprint for what we all can do. I also want to say thanks to Eddie Sandifer and the work that Southern AIDS Commission is doing to make a difference in the state of Mississippi.

If you would like to donate to Southern AIDS Commission, contact Eddie Sandifer at 601.519.6208. You can also ship canned goods and dried food items to the following: Southern AIDS Commission * 2310 Belvedere * Jackson, MS 39204.

Want to share what you are pledging to do in your own area or want us to know how you are helping others right now? We would love to share your stories both online and in future issues of Conversations Magazine. Email me at with your stories. Together we can make a real difference.

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