With well over 30 clubs, 20 school sports, school trips, class government, and many other school groups, bake sales have been a proven way to raise funds.
However, if First Lady Michelle Obama has her say, this might change. As part of her “Let’s Move” campaign, and 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, restrictions went into effect this July limiting what products can be sold during school hours at vending machines and at bake sales. The law implemented the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) puts how much sugar, fat, sodium, and calories baked goods sold in schools contain under regulation. By imposing this law on schools, the USDA puts an unfair and unnecessary restriction on schools that cuts off a vital form of fundraising.
In October, the sophomore class held a bake sale at lunch in which they asked members of their events committee to donate one or two-dozen baked goods, which, assuming they baked something simple from a box mix, should only cost ten to fifteen dollars. The profits from the bake sale totaled over $400. If the Sophomore Class had just asked for donations equivalent to the cost of ingredients for the baked goods, they would not have made nearly as much money. And this was just one of the multitude of bake sales to raise funds for school based clubs held at the high school.
Student run organizations with no real means of consistent funding rely on bake sales to earn extra money. While other types of fundraisers such as car washes, walk-a-thons, and auctions can be effective in raising funds, bake sales provide a unique opportunity to earn money. By selling at lunch, students do not have to go out of their way to support the sale; it comes right to their cafeteria. Bake sales also sell a product most students are genuinely interested in–cupcakes and cookies. Unlike fundraisers like an auction, where spenders might only be compelled to purchase items in order to support a good cause, bake sales appeal to all types of students.
In the midst of the bake sale reforms, funding for extracurricular activities, the arts, and sports dramatically decreased. With a need for funding, but tightening rules on how to get those necessary extra funds, groups are stuck between a rock and a hard place.
Supporters of the law argue that schools need these restrictions on sales of extra treats to help keep down our country’s rapidly increasing youth obesity rate. However, bake sales are in no way responsible for the growing obesity rates. An occaisional cookie or cupcake –especially for active high school students– does very little damage to the body. Additionally, in no way is the purchase of goods from a bake sale obligatory, unlike school lunches which some students may have no other option but to buy. If a student is concerned about the small health risks that come with the extra calories found in a bake sale cupcake, they don’t have to buy it.
It doesn’t hurt to provide students with the option of purchasing a delicious baked good snacks to help fund a good cause. If you don’t agree, don’t buy them, but don’t ban our bake sales.
(Olivia Gieger ’17, Arts Editor)