Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Welcome to Catholic education; we do fundraising here

I actually used that line, talking to incoming pre-school parents some years back when I did my tour of duty as Chief Flunky of our school parents group.

No one fled in terror; some were polite enough to laugh.

Through the years we've had wrapping paper sales, candy sales, Carson's Days, Barnes & Noble Days, Fashion Shows, and raffles, raffles, and more raffles.

These are not to be confused with the school band's candy sales, or the Cub Scout raffles, or Pumpkin Sales, or Popcorn Sales. Or the bake sales held for the Student Council. Or Girl Scout Cookies. (They call the shortbread cookies "trefoils" but, whatever they call 'em, I eat 'em.)

Then there's the fundraisers that support the church and the school. And the Men's Club has its golf outing and Super Bowl Party. (Don't tell the NFL: We actually use the words "Super Bowl" in advertising the event. We're not supposed to. That's why all the plasma TV ads after the New Year talk about the 'Big Game' even though everyone and their brother knows they mean Super Bowl....)

Last Sunday the choir had a bake sale; I forget where they're trying to go this year. There's a Crop Walk to end hunger coming up -- and Oktoberfest will be here before you know it. And we have to remember to take a case of pop or Gatorade to the football game a week from Sunday so the Athletic Committee can sell it. And, of course, there's the building fund. We're also trying to build a Parish Center -- a gym, a stage, some meeting rooms, maybe a track for the seniors to use.

And we just got the raffle tickets for Younger Daughter's high school fundraiser.

Of course, fundraising isn't exclusively a Catholic thing: Middle Son's college is affiliated with the Lutheran Church. And his baseball team has already held one fundraiser. There's a meeting tonight to discuss their golf outing. Oh, and they have raffle tickets, too. They have a new outfield fence that has to be paid for. (I can get you a nice banner ad on the wall if you like....)

Fundraising isn't even confined to religious groups: Youngest Son and I are supposed to attend an organizational meeting for his travel baseball team this Saturday, after the school football game. That's when we'll find out what that will cost -- and what fundraising we're going to do there. Bluejay Park always had a raffle. I'll bet that this new team will have one, too.

And every Friday is a different fundraiser. Last Friday was Tootsie Roll Day for the Knights of Columbus. That means the Lions Club Candy Day and Kiwanis Peanut Day are coming up. I prefer the Miseracordia or Salvation Army Donut Days, though, because I can just put the tag on my jacket in the morning and walk around the Loop without being solicited on every corner. Or the American Legion Poppy just before Memorial Day.

I have a friend who used to grumble that he was getting hit up for a donation every time he turned around. The school fundraising in particular used to bother him: We pay tuition, he said; why can't they just charge what it costs instead of hitting us up for nickles and dimes every week?

I understand his point -- and, when times are tight, as they always seem to be of late, I'm embarrassed when I can't always kick in -- but the fundraisers provide a certain rhythm for the year. They help mark the passage of the year, of the seasons. Like the Saints' Days in the Middle Ages. Comforting islands of continuity in what otherwise is a turbulent sea of change.


Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

Found your blog last night thru Dr. A. Have been enjoying my morning with you! New to bloging and am a dinosaur but learning from trial and error. Nice meeting you!

off line said...

Funny, I had to be out on the golf coarse on Sunday past…I can’t golf AT ALL but did it twice this year for fundraisers…got rope in last year…
It occurred to me that I would just make the best of it; get some argyle socks, knickers, plaid hat with the pomp-pomp, and yes, the funky golf shoes and be the fundraisers mascot; after all, my gift of golf is just to make everyone else out there look good.

cmhl said...

we're in the midst of popcorn for cubscouts right now, and cookie dough for the Christian school. sigh.