fund-raiser flap

January 23, 2015

Earlier this week I spent two hours volunteering at Percy’s school.  About a dozen parents gathered in the staffroom.  We spent the morning sorting through lunch orders for the coming spring term.  (The orders were for a once weekly order of pizza and/or a once weekly order of sandwiches.)  When I arrived at 9:30am most people where already there and working.  When I left at 11:30 more than half where still working.  I draw your attention to this because I want to make a point of the actual hours spent on this particular activity.  For ease of the addition let’s say ten people worked three hours each for a total of thirty hours.

It’s not terribly taxing work but you do have to pay attention to detail.  The payment was made by cheque so each one had to be checked for correct amount, payee, date (I alone had a handful of cheques dated 2014), signature etc.  Then the individual order forms have to be transcribed to a master list for each class.  I’m not sure exactly but given what I do know, there are over twenty classes in the school.  It’s surprising how many of the forms where missing information or had the wrong information on it- mostly the classroom number.  I even had a completely blank order form!  We managed to piece together the necessary information from the info on the cheque and the encyclopedic knowledge that the co-ordinator carries in their head.  ‘Thank you’ for such a dedicated and amazing memory.

We all worked steadily with a little chat now and then while we transcribed and added and totalled and squinted at the bad handwriting.  (As an aside- if you are ordering something through your school, do everyone a favour and write very neatly and double check what you’ve written!)  It was a pleasant morning, I sat next to a mother whose child is also in Percy’s class.  Someone even brought cake.

Then the amount on a cheque was queried.  It didn’t match any of the pre-set ordered amounts.  We puzzled over it for awhile until it was noticed that on the accompanying order sheet was a handwritten (badly) note saying one week’s amount had been deducted because the child was not to receive the food order for the week when passover fell.

This got me all boiled up.  And not because you think I’m anti-semetic.  You can wear anything you want on your head, including a pasta strainer, and I won’t care.  You can ascribe to whatever religion you want, and I won’t care.  You can or cannot eat whatever food you want, and I won’t care.  (well, I’d prefer ethical, organic, free-range, pesticide-free, cruelty-free food, but that shit costs a bomb, so we all get a pass depending on how much we can afford.  And I’ll pity you for missing out on the deliciousness that is bacon, but I’m getting distracted.)

What I did care about is that the lunch orders are actually a fund raiser for the school.  The people/companies that supply the food get paid for a full order whether your kid eats it or not.  The money that this wanker parent felt entitled to deduct would come out the portion that goes to the school.  That’s less library books, less sports equipment, less field trips, less special needs resources, less classroom resources and the list goes on, that the school doesn’t get because you feel entitled to enforce a kosher rule in a secular school.  Well, fuck you.  By this reasoning should every kid that stays home for whatever reason (sick, buses cancelled, holiday, funeral, you name it) on a lunch order day, get a refund?  Perhaps when a child doesn’t attend school for a day the teacher should get one twenty third less pay that day (assuming a class of 23 kids)?

The argument was put, in the staffroom, that we do have a lot of Jewish families at the school, perhaps the order could be changed to accommodate them?  Not this round, of course, but next time.  To that I say; if you accommodate one lot, you’ve fairly got to do it for everyone, and give refunds to those kids that are unexpectedly away on lunch order day.  The thirty person hours we just spent would, I confidently predict, triple.  Good luck finding enough people to wade through the level of headache personalised orders would create.  And finally, I say again, IT’S A FUND-RAISER!  Either join in and cough up as stipulated, or bugger off.