Healthy school fundraisers: a win-win for schools and families

Fundraisers can be a great opportunity to promote healthy eating

With the new school year beginning, back-to-school fundraising season will soon be underway. Whether it’s to purchase new equipment or pay for a trip, fundraisers are a reality of school life.

Based on my conversations with parents and teachers, responses run the gamut from enthusiasm and pride to disapproval and dread.

While fundraisers can be a great way to enrich students’ learning experiences, there are also some concerns. Many fundraisers rely on the sales of highly processed, less nutritious foods such as chocolate bars and cookies.

This sends confusing messages to kids and is at odds with many individuals’ and schools’ goals around healthy eating.

So how do we fundraise for our schools while honouring our commitment to creating healthy school environments? Fundraisers can be a great opportunity to promote healthy eating while raising money at the same time.

Many B.C. schools have found that healthy food and non-food fundraisers can be just as (if not more) profitable.

The Fresh to You Fundraiser is offered by the BC School Fruit and Vegetable Program. Students sell bundles of seasonal local produce and make a guaranteed 40 per cent profit.

Last year I bought a bundle from a friend’s daughter who was doing the fundraiser in Terrace. I got a variety of local produce, all while supporting students and B.C. farmers. It’s a win-win!

Here are a few creative fundraising ideas that have worked well in other schools:

• Healthier bake sales

• School-made cookbooks or calendars

• Art walks featuring student or other local artwork

• Healthy community dinners

• Seedling sales – try growing them in your own classroom!

• Christmas family portraits

Does this sound like something your school might be interested in trying? For more information, as well as recipes featuring products from the bundles, visit the Fresh to You Fundraiser website. Online applications for this year’s fundraiser will be accepted until September 22, 2018.

Show your commitment to creating healthy school spaces by being the next school fundraiser champion!

There are a number of free recipes and tips for fundraisers at www.bcaitc.ca/fresh-you-fundraiser, including:

• Bake Better Bites: Recipe and Tips for Healthier Bakes Goods

• Healthy Fundraising for Schools: a practical guide for parents and teachers

• Food Fundraiser Ideas for Schools

• Guidelines for Food and Beverage Sales in BC Schools

Emilia Moulechkova is a registered dietitian with Northern Health and supports schools across the north in their efforts to promote healthy eating.

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