‘Tis the Season

…the fundraising season, that is.

School is back in session and you know what that means! Yep. Cookie dough, popcorn, doughnut, candy and cookie sales. This weekend at the grocery store, I was approached by the cutest little con man to ever wear a Cub Scout uniform. In no time at all, he had separated me from my money and I was the proud  owner of a bag of caramel corn – premium caramel corn, no less. With pecans, almonds and stuff. As I walked away from the adorable huckster with the bag of popcorn coated with more refined sugar than I’ve eaten in two months, I lamented that I didn’t just give him five bucks and run like hell.

That’s what I do for the Girl Scouts. I give them money for their troops, but I don’t take the cookies. As I mentioned some time ago, I cannot be trusted with a box of Tagalongs; so, I make a donation directly to the troop instead. Normally, the troop gets some piddling little percentage of the sale. If I give them a five, they get 100% of that five and I don’t end up with tight pants. Plus, my five amounts to a whole lot more than they’d get from me buying three or ten boxes of cookies. Did I say ten? I meant four. Three or four boxes of cookies.

school-fundraisersPTA, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Band, Science Club, you name it – everyone seems to be raising money for something and they all seem to be selling refined sugar to do it. Whatever happened to selling candles and wrapping paper? I suppose fundraising is easier to do year over year if you sell something quickly consumed and we consume sugar a whole lot faster than we do candles and wrapping paper. In fact, until Katrina, I think I may have had wrapping paper I’d bought from a coworker’s child ten years before! Hey, it was pretty and I bought a lot. But, I just proved my own point. There’s no way on earth I’d have ten year old World’s Finest Chocolate covered almonds. It’s a minor miracle if I have ten minute old World’s Finest Chocolate covered almonds.

I truly sympathize with the clubs and organizations that have to raise funds. My mother was the leader of my sister’s Girl Scout troop from the time they were Brownies until they graduated from high school. Everything they did, I did. Plus, I was a member of a troop of girls my own age. I was a cookie seller times two! My sister’s troop planned a trip to Europe and we raised money for almost three years to make that happen. We had tag sales, bake sales, and car washes. We raked leaves, babysat, ran the city’s public pool in summer, worked as janitors at a church, and had fund-raising dinners. (Until that time when we gave the town food poisoning. Looking back, if we’d had a toilet paper sale in conjunction with the dinner, we’d have made a fortune! Missed a great opportunity.) In the end, we raised enough money for the troop to go to Europe on a six week tour. That was some serious fund raising, let me tell you. So, when I say that I get the pain of fundraising, I really do.

I get their pain and I support their efforts; however, after consuming that sugar-laden bag of popcorn and dealing with the wreckage that was my entire system afterwards, I’ll revert to my previous plan:

Give ’em five bucks and run like hell.



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