The funding allotment provided to each school is a combination of Ministry of Children and Youth Services funds, proceeds of Food for Learning fundraising events, grants from provincial SNP partners and funds donated locally. The cost of providing student nutrition programs is very high, and continues to rise with the increasing cost of groceries. The funding from MCYS was never intended to provide 100% of required funding to sustain quality programs.
Food for Learning collects donations centrally, hosts fundraising events and negotiates wholesale purchasing agreements and bulk food donations. But this still does not cover the entire cost of a program. The gap is the responsibility of the school. All schools are required to supplement the funds received from Food for Learning with their own fundraising or community donations.
Parental contributions are a critical component of your program. Parents need to be informed that although there is no charge for students to participate, nutrition programs are not ‘free’. Families should be encouraged to support the programs at a level comfortable for their personal circumstances (volunteer time, donate food, financial contribution).
The biggest mistake schools make is ‘making do’ with their annual funding allotment. This will cause a domino effect of decreased funding over years, resulting in a deterioration of the program. (i.e. using only the funds provided by Food for Learning will likely see a decrease in what you are capable of providing – less meals/snacks; this will lead to less funding the following year as the funding allotments are based on a formula that includes the number of meals/snacks served; if a school continues to ‘make do’ year after year, the program may continue to deteriorate as funding will decrease as program serves less meals/snacks).
Fundraising activities in your school will not only raise the necessary funds, but will also have the added benefit of increasing public profile and community awareness of your program. A fundraising event may also unite the staff of the school and move the program into a prominent, important part of the school culture.
- Have a goal – know how much you want to raise and how much it’s going to cost you to raise it. Prepare an annual budget for your programs to help you calculate how much you will you need.
- Start planning early – give yourself lots of time, there are always unexpected ‘tasks’ that need attention. Have a brainstorming planning meeting where you think through the event and make a list of every little thing that has to be done – the more detailed the better. Then create a task timeline to help keep you focused.
- Double check the calendar to make sure there is nothing else happening that day that will compete with your efforts.
- Have a ‘kick off’ – make a big deal out of it. If you are excited then it will become contagious and others will get excited with you.
- Recruit other enthusiastic people to help – don’t try to do it alone.
- Spread the word – a lot!!! Don’t be shy about publicizing what you are doing. People need to know that you are raising money for them to be able to support your event.
- Involve the media, staff and school council.
- Have fun!
Congratulations! You have successfully raised funds to support your Food for Learning program. Once you have completed your fundraiser and have the funds in hand, you simply have to do the following:
- All funds need to be forwarded to the principal/office secretary for deposit into your school’s Food for Learning account. Please do not forward this money to Food for Learning.
- Record the net proceeds as revenue on your month report, during the month that you held your fundraising activity.
- Use these funds to purchase supplies or groceries for your nutrition programs. Receipts for these purchases are stored at the school – please do not forward to Food for Learning. Record these purchases as expenses on your monthly report, during the month that you actually spent the money.
- Share the details of your event – send an email to us and we will include your success story on the Food for Learning website and share on social media.
- One ‘carnival’ game a month throughout the school year – ex. balloon pop, jelly bean guess, spin the prize wheel, throwing a ring onto bottles, fishpond, etc.
- Gift basket raffle – have each staff member donate items for a themed gift basket and sell tickets to students (for Christmas, Valentines, Mothers’ Day)
- Yard Sale
- Tot shop at Christmas (students donate used items from home and then buy back something else to give to family members as Christmas gifts)
- Movie – each student that provides a $5 donation to your program gets to watch a movie in the gym at noon one day as a donor thank you (principal has to approve an extended lunch period)
- Donor Yellow Brick Wall/Wall of Fame – each student/family/parent that donates to the program gets their name on a ‘brick’ and you make a path of paper bricks throughout the school (the more someone donates, the more bricks they will have)
- Hula hoop a‐thon – students get pledges and every student gets to try hula hooping as long as they can – prizes for best hoola hooper
- Ice cream social
- Bake sale/Plant Sale
- Balloon bust – put messages, prizes, privileges, etc inside balloons and sell the balloons
- Balloon‐grams – students can purchase a balloon, write a message on a gift tag and have it delivered to a friend (or candy‐grams, or flower‐grams, or valentine/Christmas card‐grams)
- Calendar creations – create school specific calendars to sell to parents (photos of kids, activities, classroom, etc.)
- Popcorn snack sales (Kernels)
- Hot lunches
- Turkey or ham raffle for Thanksgiving or Christmas
- Used book sale
- Sell school spirit ribbons
- Teacher’s promise –several teachers make a ‘promise’ to the whole school and students get to purchase votes for what promise they want the most; the teacher with the most votes must honor their promise (VP Carswell – teacher promised to bake cookies for the entire school)
- Noon hour sock hop (entrance fee or sell special socks)
- Hat Day/ Gum day– students pay a fee to wear a hat in school or chew gum in class
- Family Dance – entrance fee is food donation
- Coin Collection Week – collect 5 cent coins on Monday, 10 cent Tuesday, 25 cent Wednesday, $1 Thursday, $2 Friday
- Request support from Parent Council; perhaps assist them with a fundraising event and share proceeds
- Fun Fair – if your school hosts an annual fun fair, request that an activity be allowed to raise funds for your program
- Family barbeque
- Bingo night
- Face Painting at meet the teacher night
- Sell water at school sports events
Local Success Stories
- ‘Valentine Gift basket raffle. We sold tickets for a dollar. I had a $30.00 budget and had two generous donations from my mother and husband. Students made posters to advertise and they did daily announcements encouraging students and staff to purchase tickets. It was a hit.’
- ‘We have a yearly dance at the school and allocate the monies raised from that to our program.’
- ‘Our school had a knick¬knack sale at Christmas and sold everything for 1 dollar to all the students. Each class had a time to visit and buy a gift. ’
- ‘We sold candy grams for Valentines’ Day to raise funds.’
Other successful ‘money-makers’:
- Sold scented pencils
- Milkshake sales
- Cheese sales
- Bake sale
- Popcorn sales
- Christmas auction
- Fasting for Families