Monday, October 27, 2008


A few years ago, I was in college. Okay, maybe it was more like ten years ago. That's not the point. Anyway, I was having a quick lunch in-between classes at a fast-food restaurant near campus, when I was approached by a young child selling fundraiser candy bars. You know, the kind in the special wrapper that the kids sell for $1 to raise money for band or whatever. I pulled out my purse to buy a couple as he was explaining what they were for. When he came to the part about, "my mom has a new baby" and gestured toward his mother and siblings at a nearby table, I realized this wasn't a school fundraiser. It threw me for a loop, and although I did still buy a couple of candy bars, it seemed strange. I suppose it's not a lot different from panhandling, although in this case you actually get something for your money. But still, not something you see every day. (Although, just now I remembered going to Mexico and the children were selling packets of "chicle" on the street to raise money for their families. So I'll amend that to say, "not something you see every day in this country".)

Fast-forward to a couple of years ago, when Sammy started daycare. He goes to a local independent daycare center, whose owner I know quite well by now. She works at the center all day, substituting for teachers, helping out with snack time and recess time, and doing all the things that need to be done to run a business. I like her and the center quite a lot. But I was shocked the first time that Sammy came home with a fundraiser booklet. Not only that, but a suggestion from the owner/director that each family sell $200 worth of stuff. Uh, no - I am not going door to door, or putting up an order form at work, to raise funds for my children's daycare. Public schools need to do fundraisers, I understand that. They're vastly underfunded and teachers often have to purchase their own supplies. I get that, and I'm perfectly okay for buying things to support our public school system. But I already pay a lot - a LOT - of money for my private daycare, and I'm supposed to ask people to help defray my costs by buying some wrapping paper? Honestly, I'd rather just pay an extra $10 or $20 a week, if that's what it takes for the daycare to pay their bills.

From talking to other people, I've discovered this is a fairly common practice these days, but it feels horribly tacky to me. I'm not sure why, because Tupperware/Pampered Chef/etc. parties are basically fundraisers for personal profit, but that feels different to me, somehow.


C. Beth said...

That seems weird to me too. I understand if it's a small, nonprofit private school where they are often living on shoestring budgets but for a for-profit daycare? Just weird.

C. Beth said...

BTW--Just tagged you on my blog; only participate if you want to! :)