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December 16, 2018

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Are School Bans on Food Fundraisers Appropriate?

by Jennifer Lawton

One of the hot topics in schools for the past few years has been nutrition and the foods that are available at school. Parents want to know that their kids have nutritious foods available in the cafeteria.

Even when there are healthy foods there for lunch, will the students eat that or the junk from snack machines? That led to restrictions on soft drinks and snack machines in many schools.

There have been laws enacted at the federal and state level to promote healthy foods in schools. So schools have had to change some of their policies. Many of these changes are really positive. Students have a wider variety of foods to choose from. Some schools have salad bars and offer water and juice in drink machines.

On the other hand, some school districts have gone to the extreme. Some schools have even banned cupcakes or other food parties in the elementary schools!

Food fundraisers such as chocolate bars and pizza have also come under attack. There are school districts that donít let parent teach groups or other clubs within the school to promote food based fundraisers. Some schools just have a ban on candy and others allow clubs to do the sales, but not sell on school grounds.

Are the bans on food fundraisers appropriate? On the one hand, it is understandable. Some people would say that revising nutrition guidelines in other areas of the school, such as the cafeteria, and then allowing candy bar sales sends a mixed message.

However, consider that vending machines have been in schools for decades. Perhaps schools should simply limit sales of food products to class break times and lunch, or extracurricular activities.

How far do the food restrictions go? School sports fans would be in an outrage if when they went to the concession stand during a game there were no sodas, hot dogs or chocolate bars!

School fundraisers should be judged on the more than just nutritional merits. Fundraising programs should offer a good percentage of profits back to the school. For sales fundraisers 35% at minimum, but 50% is preferred. Other types of fundraisers may be able to bring higher results. Products sold should be useful and provide a good value for the money. They should be provided by a reputable company that provides quality customer service because they care about the schoolís fundraising success.

Also remember that fundraising can have a community building aspect. Fall or spring carnivals are one of the all-time classic school fundraisers. Many of these events include not so healthy food booths Ė from funnel cakes to ice cream and cheeseburgers with fries. But can you imagine a carnival without them? Letís encourage kids to eat healthier by offering good nutritious foods. But letís also teach them that moderation is the key to a healthy lifestyle. Itís okay to have pizza or a chocolate bar every now and againÖ just not for every meal!

Food fundraisers can provide a fun, profitable way for schools to raise funds. Most families enjoy these foods anyway, so why not let part of the purchase go to a great cause Ė our kidsí education.

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About the Author:

Jennifer Lawton searches for fun and creative ways for non-profit groups to raise funds. She is a frequent writer for , a site that provides customized fundraising programs for schools, sports teams and other youth groups.

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