I like the occasional dinner out with my family, who doesn’t? I also enjoy the idea of engaging in an activity with my kids and at the same time benefiting their school but what I am not a fan of is the new restaurant fundraising craze.
I get the idea behind it, I do. The PTA at my daughters school throws a “Dinner night out” every two weeks at a different participating restaurant. A few of the past ones have been TGIFridays, The Elephant Bar, Panda Express, and McDonalds. If you aren’t familiar with this fundraising technique, basically schools partner with local restaurants to have a “school night”, families bring in a flier, and the school receives 20% of all sales. Yes, the school does win with this concept and Yes this does in turn benefit the children.
So, you must be asking why I am being such a hag about this if it stands to bring funds into my children’s school. Well, I have a few reasons, this first is that on Monday evening after working 10 hours, coming home to play homework wars; the last thing I want to do is stand in a long line to wait for food that will deplete my wallet and expand my waist line. These are always on Mondays and on Mondays I crave nothing more than a fortress of solitude.
The second reason is a little more serious and that is my concern over the childhood obesity epidemic we have in America. It seems counterproductive to have fundraisers at places that are not exactly healthy. Here kid, eat this cheeseburger it is for a good cause. It sounds ridiculous but really think about it, doesn’t this validate poor food choices? Doesn’t it say “You can make poor food choices, as long as it is for a good cause”. Honestly, we live in Los Angeles, the options for activities are endless.
It isn’t that I feel that we should never have “Dinner nights out”, occasionally, every few months it is not horrible. I also should mention that coupled with these events; the school also has an “in-house” food fundraiser. We have pancake dinners, pizza night, spaghetti dinners, cookouts… Does your stomach hurt yet?
My thought is that, variety is vital; not only for the families but for the children. Maybe each food fundraiser could be balanced with a sport or activity fundraiser. We would participate in ice skating or fundraising dodgeball (I suggest the science fair judges to be on the opposing team). This would teach the children that participating in an active lifestyle can be just as rewarding as shoving a French fry down your throat. So far my suggestions have fallen on deaf ears which of course supports the decision to change schools even easier.
I hope at one point the PTA decides to take some of the funds raised to teach wellness classes.