Watch a video, provide a meal

It’s a common occurrence in our cyber world. Someone sends you the link to a video with a note, “I loved this” or “Check this out.”

So it was when Toyota spokesman Wade Hoyt sent me a link with the note: “This is a pretty cool video in its own right. If you watch it, Toyota will donate a meal to a NYC family in need. Pass it on!”

Usually, I’d hit the delete key, but Wade isn’t one to send along a time-waster. That was reason enough to click on the link. Obviously, there’s no such thing as a free meal, but watching a video isn’t a big price to pay to help feed someone.

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The second time I watched the video at mealsperhour.com (on July 1), I was viewer No. 905,936.

That’s a lot of free meals, many of them the result of a Toyota charitable arm: The Toyota Production System Support Center (TSSC).

TSSC is a not-for-profit Toyota-affiliated corporation created in 1992 and dedicated to sharing Toyota’s production system knowledge with North American manufacturing companies and community organizations.

In 2011, it became a not-for-profit to be able to donate on-site support to help nonprofits maximize their impact.

TSSC volunteered to help the staff at Metro World Child, a mobile food distribution unit that delivers emergency food boxes to communities in New York City’s Far Rockaways, where residents are still struggling nine months after Superstorm Sandy.

Toyota originally donated 250,000 meals to the food bank. Then award-winning video production company Supermarche made a video of the project and interest spiked. Toyota volunteered to donate another 250,000 meals, one for each view. That number now has increased to one million for a total of 1.25 million.

The stars of the video are food bank warehouse manager George Flowers, Jr., and Toyota Manufacturing’s Lisa Richardson and Jamie Bonini.

The TSSC’s approach was to make many small improvements over the eight-week collaboration, changes that are applicable to many businesses. As a result, the food bank’s staff was able to:

• Reduce the size of each box, permitting 400 more boxes (1,260 boxes, up from 864) to fit on each truck. Each box feeds a family for three days.

• Cut the number of distribution volunteers from seven to four on deliveries.

• Make simple delivery adjustments that cut distribution time from 2.5 hours to 1.25 hours.

• Pack each box in 11 seconds, down from 2.2 minutes. How good is the video? It’s so well done that it is worth watching, even if you weren’t helping to feed a fellow American in the process.

[Unclean at Any Speed?

Ozzie Zehner, a visiting scholar at the University of California and former GM employee, has taken a contrarian view of electric vehicles, publishing a paper titled “Unclean at Any Speed.” He contends that electric vehicles have hidden environmental and health costs and likely are no better, at best, than gasoline-powered vehicles.

Zehner, who says he once was an EV enthusiast, writes, “Upon closer consideration, moving from petroleum-fueled vehicles to electric cars starts to appear tantamount to shifting from one brand of cigarettes to another.”

It’s not an all-new position for Zehner, who wrote the book “Green Illusions: The Dirty Secrets of Clean Energy and the Future of Environmentalism.”

He writes, “The hope, of course, is that electric-car technology and power grids will improve and become cleaner over time. Modern electric-car technology is still quite young, so it should get much better. But don’t expect batteries, solar cells, and other clean-energy technologies to ride a … curve of exponential development. Rather, they’ll experience … growth toward some ultimate efficiency ceiling.”

Etc.

Simple is good. The folks at Sullivan Tire understand that. To increase their favorable ratings and Facebook presence, they’re offering a Summer Road Trip Package of a $500 gas card, a GPS, and $100 Sullivan Tire gift card to one lucky winner. To enter, simply “like” Sullivan Tire on Facebook. It’s a simple promotion for a company that’s always emphasized family in at least two generations of commercials on Red Sox telecasts. … July 13 offers a pair of interesting events. Wayne Carini, owner of F-40 Motorsports and star of the TV show “Chasing Classic Cars,” will be the guest speaker at Heritage Museums & Gardens in Sandwich as part of its “Under the Hood” speakers series. Space is limited and cost is $30 for museum members and $40 for non-members. The program runs from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Confession: “Chasing Classic Cars” is one TV show I regularly DVR. … Earlier in the day, Herb Chambers continues his “Cars ’n Coffee” series from 7-10 a.m. at Flagship Motorcars in Lynnfield. … If those events don’t bring you out next Saturday, maybe the 20th annual Blast from the Past car and motorcycle show behind the Cape Cod Mall in Hyannis that day will do the job. … Still not enticing enough? Then try the annual “Megacruise” at Skip’s Hamburgers in Merrimack, an event that fills the show field with 300-plus cars. … July 14 is Microcar Day at Larz Anderson Auto Museum. Bring your camera.