Making a Difference: Family Bake Sale

Jenny’s class was focused on helping a school in Uganda that did not have what they needed. Jenny’s teacher mentions books and computers specifically. In reality, money that is sent to the school in Uganda also helps with essentials like fixing roofs so that they can harvest sorely needed rain water and lunch programs so children who are hungry can focus on their studies.  Your school or community may already be engaged in some fundraising activities, but there are always people in need, whether it’s an ongoing situation in your own community or a disaster that has affected people many miles away.

See if your children understand that Jenny used her special jumping skill to help others. See if there’s something your children would like to do as a family to lend a hand. In our house, my daughter was frequently moved to do a bake sale when a natural disaster struck, anywhere in the world.  You’d be surprised at how easily your family can mobilize to make a difference.  Here are some other suggestions for things you can do together as a family: tag sale- a great opportunity to clean out the closets and contribute to a cause; family readathon- get friends and relatives to support your children reading; volunteer in a local soup kitchen; help deliver holiday meals; cook for a local family in need due to illness or a death in the family; bring joy in some form to a home for the aged- reading, singing, making an individual connection and visiting regularly. Below, I have outlined some of the basics of doing a bake sale:

How to do a Family Bake Sale:

Start by talking to your kids about the cause they would like to support. The more they understand about why they’re doing this, the more rewarding the experience will be. Talk about what they would like to make, but remember to keep things simple so you don’t feel like you’ve signed on for a Martha Stewart competition.  Think about what they are capable of doing in the way of helping, what would be fun for them, and how much time you have.  One child can help with the baking while another prepares a sign for the event. If there are older children involved, and you have the time and a printer, they might have fun preparing a simple recipe book to sell as well.

Materials Checklist:

  • Baked Goods
  • Homemade Poster/Sign
  • Table
  • Tablecloth
  • Napkins
  • Small Pates
  • Box or envelope to keep money
  • Extra change for making changes
  • Drinks, bottled water, lemonade, iced tea (optional)
  • Recipe book (optional)

The Baked Goods:
It’s always good to offer a variety of treatssmall cookies, larger ones, cupcakes.  Chocolate is usually a pretty good bet. You might also want to consider a flourless or sugar-free treat, as so many people have special dietary restrictions these days.

The Display: Depending on the age of your children, have them make a sign for the sale, explaining what you are raising money for. Large poster board and markers or crayons are great.  Give some thought to the display. To start with, you will need a table you can easily bring outside. Covering it with a tablecloth adds a nice touch. Be sure to have napkins, or small plates on hand. With a nice-looking table, children, and a good cause, you are sure to be successful. .Of course tasty baked goods help.

The Location: While you may live in a place that is heavily trafficked, you can also look for events or locations where you will be likely to find hungry people, like a soccer game, craft show, or in front of a grocery store. You may need permission or a permit, so check into that before setting up shop.

The Pricing: Think about your neighborhood and audience, and price your treats accordingly. Also be sure to price them so that they are easy to calculate- for your kids, your customers and yourself. Set aside a special box or envelope to collect the money and prepare lots of change in advance.  Be prepared to change things around if sales are slow- you could have hourly specials, or group certain items together for special pricing.

The Selling: Many children enjoy running the commercial part of the business, so you might want to step aside and let them take the lead. However, stay close by so you can see what’s going on, from the sidelines, and jump in if questions arise.

Fun Add-Ons: You may want to offer drinks along with the baked goods- usually an easy way to make more money. If it’s a warm day, selling cold bottled water or lemonade can be rewarding, but make sure if you have a way to keep things cold. You could even get fancy and prepare a little cookbook of the recipes used.

You will be surprised at how much you can make selling baked goods, and how rewarding it is for your children to feel like they can contribute to a good cause.  While your first bake sale may be in response to a crisis or natural disaster, you might consider making this an annual family event. There are always causes that need support. And, as with so many other things, if you do it annually, it’s extremely fun to watch as your kids take on more of the responsibility for the sale. Many of these guidelines apply to a family stoop sale as well.

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