Allergy friendly fundraisers - 'cos sometimes the Easter Bunny ain't funny
Updated: Aug 13
Have you bought tickets for your school’s Easter Egg raffle? Have you seen the chocolate? Are you hoping to win a basket?
Oh yes, the Easter Egg Raffle is definitely a school event that everyone gets excited about!
Except for the kids with food allergies - they have to watch from the sidelines. Food fundraising events are terrifying and upsetting when the chances are it will make them sick, or maybe even die. Food-allergic kids won’t be buying tickets to the Easter egg raffle, and they won’t be buying at the sausage sizzle, the cake stall, or pizza days either. They won’t buy or help sell chocolates in a box, or probably cookie dough.
With a ratio of 1 in 20 kids having a food allergy in primary schools - that’s a lot of families missing out on contributing to your school’s fundraising efforts.
And speaking as a mother of an anaphylactic child, I don’t want to support food-based school fundraisers, even though my other children could safely eat it. It’s not just that we don’t want to bring home and expose my son to the traces of food allergen that’s essentially poison to his body. We also don’t want him to feel alone while the rest of us have a great time guzzling foods that he can never have. We stand in solidarity with him.
Food allergic kids spend years being upset, distraught and depressed at feeling excluded from school food fundraising and celebration events.
School is supposed to be a place where every child is included, where everyone has the same chance.
But when you’re five years old it’s excruciatingly sad to have to walk past the sugary, lolly-topped cake stall where all your friends are cramming their mouths with cupcakes. It’s a conflict when you’re six years old, listening to your teacher’s daily exhortations for Easter Egg donations and reminders to bring in your raffle tickets for a chance to win – and a torture to later see your classmates gripping their winning baskets while they boast about how many chocolates they’re going to eat.
By the time you’re seven or eight, you might have worked out a trick. You might pretend you’re not hungry, that your mouth doesn’t water for the sausage sizzle you’re not allowed to eat. The other kids enjoying their treats around you … every year you get better at pretending it doesn’t matter. And when you’re ten and want to help raise money by selling chocolates in a box – you feel guilty because you’re the only one who can’t help.
Food fundraising is often seen as the easy option, but it’s not easy for everyone. When children are young, school is a tremendously huge part of their lives and they feel the loss of participation very hard.
Schools, please consider your food allergic students, and make them feel part of the solution.
An allergy-friendly fundraiser tells your school community you care more about the children than the easy sugar dollar. It shows you care about families with dietary restrictions – whether for health or religious reasons. It can show you care for education, the arts, memories, fitness and the environment. And you might even gain more reach – and more support for your group – as your healthy fundraiser touches more parents who are aligned with your healthy fundraising values.
Allergy-friendly fundraisers are positive and wealth-creative events for schools. Check out the increasing range of healthy school fundraising options today!
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