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Schools Say Bye Bye Bake Sale

By jeannesager |

birthdaycakeFirst it was the in-class birthday party. Now schools are kicking the bake sale off campus.

The reason? Say it with me now: childhood obesity.

In New York City, where the bake sale ban has just gotten the OK, the education department estimates forty percent of the students are overweight. Getting the sweets out of their faces is supposed to cut down the “I see food, I eat food” problem with America’s kids.

They suggest the kids come up with better fundraisers – say a walk-a-thon that will actually get them moving for the money.

For this mother who just handed in the sales form for her daughter’s soccer team fundraiser, the walk-a-thon sounds sweet. She’s four, and I’m already sick of peddling junk to the neighbors. Nor am I especially crazy about buying brownies from the cross country team and cookies from the Girl Scouts every time I turn around – a straight donation would be easier on my jiggly butt.

Unfortunately, I’m not sure there are enough people out there who will throw money into the kid’s jar and say “have a nice day.” People want something for their money. A walk-a-thon pledge isn’t giving them that.

Meanwhile, no one wants more knick knacks for the house, and you can only buy so many rolls of wrapping paper. With schools struggling in the economy, there are more kids running fundraisers to keep clubs and programs alive then ever before.

Which puts kids back at the food sales. And the eating.

In the vicious cycle, what should be lost: the healthy food or the funds?

Image: SagerScenes

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About jeannesager



Jeanne Sager is a freelance writer and photographer living in upstate New York with her husband and daughter, Jillian. She maintains a blog of her award-winning columns at

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5 thoughts on “Schools Say Bye Bye Bake Sale

  1. Tara says:

    I do think that kids should venture out into different fundraising markets, but not because of obesity. People need to stop blaming others or the market for their own kids problem. You are the parent stop them and show them the right thinks to eat. Yes, its hard, but please.
    As for the fundraisers, my son,5, has done a trike-a-thon and a Hop-a-thon and people have definitely responded to donating for these causes. What about dance-a-thons? We really do need to bring these things back, but not cause of obesity.

  2. TMC says:

    Since when did bake sales promote childhood obesity? When I was young we actually sold the goods to customers. If we were lucky maybe mom would buy us a cookie on the way out- one- not a dozen! I love the bake sale and it will be sad to see such a traditional fundraiser cut because parents can’t tell their children no.

  3. Lorraine says:

    Do we really think childhood obesity will cease because we’re putting the kibosh on bake sales?? The problem is in the home, not school fundraisers. And we need to stop blaming school lunches, while we’re at it. Kids eat 21 meals a week — only five of those are at school! People need to start taking responsiblity for their own kids. I suspect Jeanne is correct in that it will be tougher to get people to support a walk-a-thon. Not to mention tougher to get kids to participate …

  4. [...] ban has been rescinded according to the New York Times, in part because parents still reeling over the bake sale prohibition were belly-aching that there were little to  no means left to raise money to offset the tight [...]

  5. [...] first banning bake sales outright, the city has compromised by agreeing to let a certain amount of pre-made foods go on the [...]

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