"It's About Learning"
A survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2000 found that clubs, sports teams, and PTAs sold food to raise money in 80% of schools nationwide. These fundraisers help pay for athletic equipment, school activities, field trips, supplies, library books, and more. Common school fundraisers that undermine health are as follows:
· Bake Sales. Often parents are too busy to bake, so they contribute ready-made, commercial cakes and cookies or use quick sugar and bad fat laden mixes if they do fix their own at home.
· Junk food product sales. Chocolate and other kinds of candy, doughnuts, cookie dough, pizza dough and pizza kits are popular. Catalogs for gift wrap fundraisers often include candy, as well.
· Fast-food promotions. Fast-food restaurants designate special weeknights for school fundraising and sell gift cards encouraging families to eat more fast food. Our schools should be discouraging – not encouraging – children to eat at fast-food restaurants.
While food sales are typically quite effective and many of our school activities and groups rely on the money raised, fundraisers like these send a mixed message to students about the need to develop healthy habits for life.
Fortunately, many fundraising alternatives exist that don’t harm health. In fact, some promote it. For example:
· Rope-jumping, walk-a-thons and fun runs. Sponsorships generate cash for schools and teach kids that being physically active can be fun and rewarding.
· Nonfood product sales. Plants, flowers, toys, books, wrapping paper, coupon books, magazine subscriptions, calendars and candles sell well and contain no added sugar or trans-fat.
· Services such as car washes or dog washes. There’s an added benefit of giving children the experience of working cooperatively in teams.
· Healthy food sales. Fresh fruit, nuts, spices, bottled water and granola bars are good products.
· Sales of items with our schools logo: T-shirts, sweatpants, shorts, hoodies, caps, pens and pencils, hair ties, notebooks and water bottles.
In today’s environment where our school board is implementing healthy eating guidelines and requiring our students to complete community service hours, these types of products are a natural fit. They reinforce the positive messages being sent out by our parents, our schools/organizations, and they teach positive, healthy lifestyle skills. If you are interested in learning more about healthy school fundraisers, visit the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s website at http://cspinet.org/new/pdf/schoolfundraising.pdf.
Tucker County Schools thanks you for continuing to support our children in positive and healthy ways. Please feel free to contact my office if you have any questions related to assisting our schools with fundraising activities.
Dr. Eddie R. Campbell, Jr.
Superintendent, Tucker County Schools