If you know any school-age children, you have probably participated in a school fundraiser at some time. Just like any other school activity, if your school chooses to do fundraisers, they should communicate the same messages that support the goals of a healthy school environment while still earning money.
This past winter, the Iowa Food Hub launched a school fundraising program featuring foods grown and produced in northeast Iowa. The program was inspired by a Farm to School program offered by REAP in Wisconsin. WW Homestead Dairy in Waukon has also been successful with their Cheese Curds for Schools fundraiser.
After brainstorming ideas with the food hub team, we took the idea to the Regional Youth Leadership Team in November — hoping to find one school interested in helping us work out the logistics.
The middle school HYPE team (Healthy Peer Youth Educators) at MFLMarMac volunteered to help us pilot the program as a way to raise funds for a smoothie machine for their concession stand.
We created a product list of ten items ranging in price from $6 to $20, and the students asked their friends and family to participate. The students received 20% of the sales.
After a few weeks of selling, the orders were returned to the food hub for assembly. This fundraiser occurred right before Christmas, so the food hub elves packed the items in the appropriate seasonal gift bags.
The fundraiser even appeared in the FFI Bits on Dec. 2 – and that is where the story took a wonderful twist.
Kathy is one of our FFI partners in the Twin Cities. She read the story about the fundraiser and then read about another pilot project – the winter food box, and she got an idea. The winter food box was being marketed as a way to give the gift of healthy food.
She wanted to support the fundraiser, but could not drive to McGregor to pick up her purchases. Instead, she placed an order and made arrangements with the HYPE coach, Jenelle Schreoder, to have her purchases donated to the Clayton County Food Pantry.
“For me, this gift had a triple-bottom line,” Kathy said. “I supported HYPE, gave a donation of good food to the food pantry, and supported the local food economy!”
Her employer even matched her gift.
The club sold over $1000 of local foods and raised $265 for their club. For more information on the local food fundraiser program, contact the Iowa Food Hub, www.iowafoodhub.com.