It’s November, and so many fundraisers have come and gone already, I can’t keep them straight any more.
Both my children participate in youth groups, and Kelly recently (re)started public school. I never realized how many fundraisers they’d be bringing home; and there’s been so many I honestly just mentally skipped out on half of them, probably making me that scumbag parent who never contributes.
It started quite innocently with her Brownie troop doing a candy and magazine sale. This is not to be confused with the big official Girl Scout fundraiser, the cookie sale. The cookie sale is easy. The candy sale confuses people, but nonetheless, Kelly managed to sell some candy to her brother and father, and a magazine subscription to me.
Next thing I knew, Kelly had another fundraiser: a Walkathon for her school, with a minimum goal for each child to raise. I traded pledges with a neighbor who had a grandson doing the same for his school, and pitched in the rest myself. The Walkathon happened during school hours, but that evening the school had a festival and auction where we plunked down more money for a few games, and won tickets to the Winchester Mystery House and a Merry Maids house cleaning.
By this time, the fundraisers for Neil’s boy scout troop were underway as well. In early October, we donated excess household items to the troop’s yard sale, which only brought in modest funds. At the same time, Neil was expected to sell expensive popcorn — the official, notorious Boy Scout fundraiser. I’m sure each purchase is one of charity by kind people who support the Boy Scouts, not because they love the Boy Scout brand popcorn. Once again, we failed to buy some ourselves. Almost on top of this, Neil’s troop was also selling fresh Christmas wreaths (to be delivered right after Thanksgiving.) These are more popular, but Neil was so busy each October weekend that he couldn’t canvas the neighborhood for sales.
And by this time I was pretty burned out on fundraisers: five fundraisers in the course of one month does seem like a lot, doesn’t it? I’m reluctant to send them around the neighborhood, because we’ll get known as the family with the kids who are always asking for money for one thing or another.
And then Kelly came home with another fundraiser from her school: cookie dough. This, too, came with an expectation that we would buy. After all, if we didn’t want any, we were offered the “buy-out” option of $25.
It’s just a little too much for me, all at once. Especially since I don’t particularly want candy, magazines, popcorn, garage sale goods, Christmas wreaths or cookie dough.
After participating in a lifetime of fundraisers with four children, and having lived in 16 different neighborhoods, I’ve gotten to the point that I’ll give the organization a couple of dollars, ask for a cash receipt (nobody’s ever heard of that!), and duly note a charitable contribution. We’re retired. Neither my husband nor I want or need empty calories, but we do understand that kids and parents are constantly called upon to finance school activities (our property taxes are insufficient, I guess). Also, I’m at the simmer point when I think about the companies that make a profit at the expense of the underage salespeople…all those thousands of kids.