Week 3 of the new school year is ending.
So far I’m out:
$2 x 2 kids = $4 for East Africa famine fundraising Twoonie Tuesday
$2 x 2 kids = $4 for Terry Fox walk Twoonie Tuesday
I can be out further cash for some Scholastic book orders (which I may do if I can actually find something that doesn’t push Nickelodeon or Disney) which would help me out with the pending Christmas shopping season upon us (I hate shopping).
I could also be out of $5 for one child if he would be participating in the Subway lunch (we packed him his own sandwich, and a plum and apple instead of the fruit roll-up which he would be receiving).
I could also be out several more $5s over the course of the year for a variety of pizza lunches which, I believe, would go toward the school itself (also a worthy cause).
There will be further donations requested for the upcoming Thanksgiving season, Holiday season and who knows what else. Last year we donated a shoe box full of items children in Cuba could use (toothbrushes, crayons, erasers and pencil sharpeners, small toys) which Benjamin was able to help pack up, but still, it cost more money. There was an understood implication that each child will bring a shoe box filled with stuff…which draws home the point even further: when does it end? Does it end?
Should it end?
It’s a difficult question with an even more complex answer.
Note please that I am not against fundraising in principle. But please note also that I do not support each and every cause the school is pursuing. We have a short but well-researched list of whom we like to donate to, research that was conducted by DH who determined which cause will use the most of the funds per dollar donated toward the actual cause (as opposed to sending us endless junk mail requesting the urgent need for more of our funds). Doctors without Borders is one of the most efficiently run organizations according to our research who uses 80% of each dollar donated toward the actual cause.
It’s a fine line, this fundraising with school. We debated at the dinner table and after we finished, little 3 year old Sonja said she ‘didn’t want to participate in cancer research’, referring to the Terry Fox donations we are to collect around the neighbourhood (not the kids, the parents. Kids are highly discouraged from going around the neighbourhood to collect money for Terry Fox). We spent some time discussing further, for the kids’ benefit, about how we like Terry and how heroic he was for doing what he did, and how we can admire what he has done without necessarily giving money to the cause. We even talked about our own levels of discomfort. We said:
When you feel tired of walking to/from school, just think of how Terry felt running across parts of the country with only one healthy leg. You have two healthy legs and are not sick, Terry had cancer and lost a leg to cancer, and he still ran across parts of the country.
Will it make a difference?
Will it help the children understand to some degree that we have choices, even if it means that they don’t get to eat a Subway lunch when other kids do?
I have a feeling this is going to be a long journey.