Many schools rely on fundraising for supplementary revenue to support activities, events or equipment. Traditionally, fundraising has relied on the sale of sweets, treats and other junk food items at bake sales and concession stands. Yet, these types of fundraising efforts often undermine the healthy eating messages schools are trying to instill in students. Instead, it’s important to select fundraisers that align with the school’s local wellness policy and support healthy habits for the whole child.
Nutrition Standards for Fundraisers
Under the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards, foods sold outside of the school meals program during the school day,* including those sold as part of in-school fundraisers, must comply with Federal nutrition standards. In Massachusetts, there are no allowable exemptions to the standards for fundraisers so all food-based fundraisers must meet these USDA standards. Check with your local school wellness policy for additional guidance on in-school fundraisers.
*The school day is defined as midnight the night before to 30 minutes after the instructional day ends.
Finding Healthier Alternatives
Healthy food-based and non-food fundraisers can be incredibly profitable and FUN. Walk-a-thons, field days, dance parties, and jump rope competitions are just a few non-food ideas that can yield a big profit while also encouraging students to be physically active!
If your school is looking for healthy food items to sell, check out the A-List from The John C. Stalker Institute of Food & Nutrition (JSI) at Framingham State University for some pre-approved snacks for schools which can be purchased by the school nutrition program. Foods and beverages not found on the A-List can be evaluated using JSI’s MassNETS tool to ensure they meet nutrition standards. For more healthy fundraising ideas, check out the additional resources provided below!
Best Practices for Healthy School Fundraisers, USDA
Healthy Fundraising Solutions, Alliance for a Healthier Generation
Healthy Fundraising, Action for Healthy Kids
Partnering for the Health of It: Food Service & Fundraising Go Hand in Hand, Alliance for a Healthier Generation
Sweet Deals: School Fundraising Can Be Healthy & Profitable, CSPI