Back To School Week: School Fundraising Programs Can Suck It

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With kids returning back to school, in only a matter of weeks my own kids will be busting through the front door brandishing school fundraising packets that weight as much as a phone book and yammering about how if they sell $300 worth of products they can be eligible to win a plastic duck. Which will then make them eligible to enter a drawing where they can win a bigger duck. If they win the bigger plastic duck and sell an additional $500 worth of products they can be eligible to possibly win a fourth generation clip on 4GB MP3 player and a pizza party for their class.

Does your school participate in these programs?

Gift wrap,  frozen pizza, coupon books, candles in jars, frozen cookie dough, boxes of chocolates, magazine subscriptions, calendars. You are expected to take your kid door to door and wait in the driveway while they tentatively knock on doors of neighbors you never speak to unless your dog gets out and pees all over their annual garden and you need to apologize because you get caught. So your kid rings the doorbell, order form in hand, and if the neighbors actually do answer the door you have to coach your kid from 20 feet away because hey, you are teaching your kid to be independent and speak to adults and your kid will never remember why the hell they are ringing the door to begin with because they are too busy thinking about the half can of Pringles chips back home in the kitchen cupboard.

“You need to speak up Honey!”

“Tell them why you are raising money for your school Honey!”

“No, Honey, they don’t need to know you may win an MP3 player. Mrs. Smith is 90 years old and she has no idea what a MP3 player is.”

So usually what happens at this point is the parent brings the school fundraising materials to work so that they can harass their poor co-workers into buying junk or the parents make a Facebook post asking distant relatives to order junk or if you are me, you throw the fundraising materials into the trash and instead write a donation check to your school.

I’m not going to force my kids to be some community theater version of Willy Loman so my school can get 45 percent of the profits off a roll of shitty gift wrap. I totally agree that schools are underfunded. I understand that these programs can help raise money for additional classroom computers or library books and that a lot of schools rely on overpriced magazine sales to buy necessary supplies. But what I don’t understand is why making our kids go door to door selling blocks of frozen cookie dough is any better than just writing a check. I will always answer the door to these pint size Avon ladies. I’ll buy the Girl Scout cookies and the Tahitian vanilla coconut green tea candle in a jar and the overpriced subscriptions to Vogue magazine, but there is no way in hell I’m falling into the trap of shilling products to raise money for my school. They can have a check, my kids don’t have to waste valuable homework or playtime going door-to-door, and my husband’s co-workers don’t have to be annoyed by him.

My kids can deal with being the only ones not participating in school fundraising. I’ll just buy them a plastic duck at the dollar store.

(Photo: Auremar/ Shutterstock)