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          Dear @BowlCanada, Selling Chocolate Should Not Be A Prerequisite For A Child To Play In Your Leagues      

This is not the first time someone has shared the story of a kids' sports league that requires junk food fundraising, but it may be the first time that the league's program coordinator explicitly stated that the child of a parent willing to pay a bit more instead of being stuck selling $50 of chocolate wouldn't be welcome.

I've said it before and will say it again, our food culture is broken and junk food fundraising is just one small aspect of that, and when you question social norms, no matter how broken they might be, don't be surprised when you get pushback. But damn, it's depressing.

Here is the redacted email exchange I was forwarded

Parent:
Hello,

My kids’ dad signed our child up for bowling and is telling me I have to sell half of these chocolates.

I asked for information and the lane said that Bowl Canada mandates this.

So I have a few things to ask.

I’ve noticed that General Mills is a sponsor. Do they make the chocolates and are they the party that is behind this arrangement?

Why chocolate when we are in the midst of an obesity epidemic? Especially for an organization encouraging health? There are all sorts of fundraisers. If given the chance I would gladly purchase fresh vegetables through Peak of the Market, for example.

Also, why not give parents the option of giving a donation for tax deductible purposes rather than making them buy a bunch of poor quality chocolate that is probably connected to child labour? You’d still cover the costs you are hoping for.
Bowl Canada Program Coordinator
Dear [Redacted],

We are happy to hear that your child will be registering for bowling this season! Yes, Youth Bowl Canada has one official fundraiser each year and our tried and true method of raising funds, to help keep costs down for families, is the sale of chocolates.

Every two years, Youth Bowl Canada considers proposals from many companies offering an array of products, with various levels of monetary return which benefits all levels of bowling in Canada. Chocolate companies can repeatedly offered the best deal to not only bowling, but to schools, community clubs, etc.

General Mills was a sponsor of Bowl Canada last year, however it was simply a free game of bowling offer on select food products in stores. They have not wished to quote on our fundraisers in the past.

I hope I have addressed your concerns. Please feel free to reply should you have any further questions
.
Parent
Hi [Redacted].

Thanks for your quick response. My understanding is, then, that these chocolate sales are mandatory if we want our kids in bowling. Is that correct?

If not correct, if this fundraiser is optional, no big deal; I don’t have to take part in something I find morally objectionable in order for my kid to have this opportunity.

If correct, that you require these chocolate sales, I would urge Bowl Canada to reconsider this policy, for 3 reasons.

1. It is objectionable to force fundraising on families. Some people are very good at this kind of stuff. Others have anxiety or lack the connections to have people to sell to. Sometimes the families least able to support a fundraiser are the ones whose kids most need this kind of programming.

2. This does not support physical health. As I mentioned, obesity is a major issue in society. I can appreciate that you are looking for good money makers but I think non-profits should be mindful of other considerations.

3. Why not give parents the option of something else? I am not going to sell these chocolates. If I end up buying half from my kids’ dad I will end up with chocolate I don’t want in my house and maybe end up throwing it out. I will have spent what? $50 on chocolate so Bowl Canada can get $20? I’d much rather just give you the $20 profit you are looking for. Why not just give me that option rather than making me spend more money than is necessary?

4. Chocolate is ethically problematic. Most chocolate manufacturers have child labour and harsh conditions as part of the production process. This is wrong and I believe what we support with our money should not hurt other people.

So I find myself between a rock and a hard place: I love my kid in bowling, it has been great for him. But I don’t think it’s right to force me to take part in something I find morally objectionable.

Please reconsider your policy.
Bowl Canada Program Coordinator
Hi [Redacted].

Yes, chocolate sales are required for the YBC program to participate in all YBC programs and events.

I will, however forward your concerns on to those that review YBC policies for future consideration.

Regards
Ugh.


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