Forget Chocolate Frogs
With the recent release of results from a global survey by Oxfam of 17 countries ranking their favourite foods, actually came of little surprise to me that Australia’s favourite food was chocolate. With chocolate sold at every supermarket, corner store, petrol station not to mention inside virtually every office for fundraising no wonder Australian eyes see, breathe and eat chocolate every day.
Keeping with the chocolate theme, when my three-year old walked out of her weekly dance class with a huge grin on her face – you would think her mother should be happy, but the grin unfortunately was not from the dance class that she enjoys every week. It was from the box of chocolates, nearly as big as herself that she was carrying, like all her friends around her. I understand preschools, dance groups and all organisations need cash flow to run their business and activities, but I believe it’s inappropriate that chocolate and donuts are the top two money drives run in Australia and that three-year olds are given lollies at the end of class and chocolates to sell in order to get their trophy at the end of the year.
What’s more, I am the one that is seen to be abnormal when I mention my concern to other parents. I was even more concerned with the fact that there is a prize for whoever sells the most chocolates and incentives for preschoolers to run chocolate drives, potentially winning 250 crayon packs for the preschool. Direct advertising of chocolate and junk food to children should not be encouraged and preschools and children’s groups should be encouraged to use healthier ways to raise money.
With one in four children overweight or obese and more than one in two adults overweight or obese in Australia it is becoming the norm to eat unhealthily or enjoy video games more than playing soccer. Why have Australian health standards dropped so low? Why is it perceived to be easier to be unhealthy when all it actually does is complicate your life with diabetes, heart disease and cancer, tiredness, sleep and sexual dysfunction?
When 90 per cent of the people overweight, depressed, is chocolate and junk food that 30 per cent of Aussie children’s diet is made of, really all that enjoyable? This is not the life I want my child to be accustomed to, thinking that every time she has been good she deserves a sugary treat. If a child is good every day, it’s hard to tell them these are “sometimes” foods, teaching them that every time a group needs money we need to encourage 48 people to buy a chocolate frog.
I spend my working day teaching people to eat chocolate and junk food in moderation; it’s a bit hard to then be selling chocolate frogs at the front counter. So many of my clients are always complaining about how much temptation surrounds them, such as office birthday cake, chocolate drives, parties, social occasions all with the standard junk food served. So is it changing the way we eat at home the answer to the obesity epidemic or is it something much harder to change – like the Australian culture, health standards and the type of food you expect to eat at social occasions – which is in my experience, a whole pile of deep fried finger food. It’s my mission to try to debunk some of these – but it’s a huge task. Healthy fundraising is going to be my first mission.
First I have investigated some healthier options available in Australia, and I have listed some resources, below. Secondly I contacted a fundraising company local to me – called to see how I could support their good work.
Thirdly I have dedicated the whole week to tweeting and blogging on this topic, and fourthly I am going to see that my daughter’s dance group uses a healthy option next year. If every parent who agrees with this action makes a stand too – then perhaps one person can make a significant difference.
After all my research into healthy fundraising – I think I like this one the best and the one and the one I will suggest to my child’s dance group for next year’s fundraising, as an apron with her hand print or a canvas dance bag with her footprint, is something I would prefer to see than chocolates next year. I would also volunteer to help make them.
The other idea I like is selling little fundraiser soaps – you can buy soap making kits from lots of websites – and selling them in your favourite little guest soap shape. Some great health campaign fundraisers are selling toothpaste or sunscreen, but maybe they are not seen quite as fun!
Here are some other great Healthy fundraising resources I’ve found....
You can buy a book about healthy fundraising from Nutrition Australia, which I wish was for free at least in e book form. Healthy and unhealthy options can be found on this site and I love their walk-a-thon with free water offer. And finally I like the ideas within the healthy canteen kit from the Victoria government website.
So, forget chocolate frogs – think healthy fundraising instead.
- See latest blog post