My Challenge: Find Ways to Give Your School Fundraisers a Healthy Makeover

Jodi Davis

| 3 min read

The new school year is well underway, and I assume I am not the only parent who has had numerous requests from students, including my own daughter, to purchase some form of fundraising merchandise. I can visualize you nodding your head “yes” already; as we know, school, kids and fundraising go just go hand-in-hand. It is expected, sometimes even required by each student — but it’s not always the most enjoyable … or healthy for us.
It makes me happy to realize that several school systems are making a conscious effort to promote and sell fundraising items that no longer contribute to the obesity crisis that our nation’s youth are currently facing.

Take Part in Change

Yes, things are definitely changing! It is wonderful to learn that schools are putting students’ health first by taking the initiative to look for new and creative fundraising ideas. Even if these ideas may take a little more work than selling the typical chocolate candy bar, fatty sausage rolls or massive bucket of cookie dough, the extra time spent is worth it.
But not all schools are focusing on putting children’s health first. If this sounds familiar and has caused you concern, realize that you can be part of making changes… healthy changes that are both good for you and your child. Every person is part of the solution when it comes to bringing down the obesity rate in this nation. It can happen, but we have to work together on this.
I challenge you and other parents in your community to find ways to come up with some new, creative and most importantly, healthy fundraising ideas this year.
Through the years I have spoken to a few individuals in charge of fundraising ideas who feel that “candy is the only way.” But honestly, there are other ways to raise funds. Our middle school principal was a little skeptical at first, but he knew how important the health of each student is, so he took the initiative to stop selling candy bars as a fundraiser. His new idea to sell mugs and cups printed with the school logo was a big hit!

Other Good Ideas

I searched the Internet and found some items that I feel are great fundraising ideas, too: school apparel, silicone bracelets, beads, vehicle window clings, team bumper stickers, stadium cushions, spirit yard signs, plants, flower bulbs, key chains, refrigerator or car magnets, first aid kits, grocery totes, backpacks, picture frames, license plate frames, team fleece blankets, felt team flags, pompoms, water bottles, custom ID dog tags, school team lanyards, flip flops in school colors (kids love these) or even something as basic as gel pens or pencils.
But my favorite idea of all was actually held this morning by the Hartford Elementary Parent Teacher Organization. They sponsored the “Hartford Healthy Hike” walk-a-thon, which was under way once all the students arrived at school. Each student walked from their respective elementary school to the Hartford High School track and was given 20 to 30 minutes to walk as many quarter-mile laps as possible while enjoying top-40 radio favorites playing on the sound system.
Family and community members were invited to cheer the students on and walk along with them if they desired. Every student participating received a participation gift along with a healthy snack and drink and a complimentary event T-shirt for those who raised a specific designated dollar amount. Awesome or what! You go, Hartford P.T.O.!
I know that the health of your children, your friends and your family is very important to you, which is why I hope that each of our schools focus on not selling junk food as school fundraisers — please. Take a stand and let them know that there are better ways to raise funds for the school. Healthier ways!
Photo by Samhines

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