Early Saturday morning, a small group of young boys knocked on my door and asked if I had any empties to donate to their hockey team. I glanced down the driveway and saw another small group of parents at the ready with a trailer, patiently waiting for the results of their kids’ request.
I looked back at the boys dressed in their hockey jerseys with their bright, rosy cheeks from the anoticeable fall chill in the air and said, “Sure. Meet me at the garage door and we’ll see what we have.” Surely I had something to offer; I mean what hockey parent doesn’t have a few empties in their garage?!
Indeed, I found them a few donations for their collection, made some small talk about hockey as they asked about the various equipment bags in our own garage, and soon they were on their way to the next house.
Every hockey team my kids have ever played on, a team budget has been prepared that the parents must approve at the beginning of the season. Then there is this little, seemingly innocuous line item that always makes me break out in a cold sweat: Fundraising and/or Sponsorship. You know the one.
Over the past 16 years I can’t tell you how much “stuff” I’ve either sold, bought or eaten in the name of team fundraising. There was a book club meeting not too long ago where we spent the first 30 minutes writing cheques to each other in support of our kids’ various fundraising programs. I’ve also coordinated many a fundraising program for our hockey teams as well.
The 37 buckets of cookie and muffin dough that sat for a week in our garage was beyond anyone’s willpower, especially my own. Hopefully your team has settled on a niche product (like Christmas wreaths), and its ongoing success requires little deviation. If so, you might as well stick with it!
I know it’s easier to just write a cheque but I also know that cost is a major barrier for many Canadians to playing organized hockey. Fundraising for many is one of the ways to help offset the cost of team fees. I feel continuously blessed by our community’s generosity toward hockey teams - not just in support of our own hockey teams but also in support of our national pastime.
There was a time in my life before kids and before hockey that I would have politely declined, regardless of how many empties were sitting in my garage. I had yet to be indoctrinated into the wonderful world of team fundraising.
I know better now. My kids have been these little boys and girls and I’ve been that parent at the end of the driveway. If for some reason my husband has already made a trip to the beer store with all the empties, I still slip those kids a toonie or two. Doesn’t sound like a big donation but in our neck of the woods a toonie is what you get for twenty empty beer bottles or ten empty wine bottles.
I do this as much for the poor parents up early acting as volunteer supervisors as I do for the little team of hockey players knocking on my door. Open up your piggy bank and offer up a few coins – every little bit really does help!
Now, if only someone would come knocking at my door asking for donations of dirty hockey socks!
Three cheers for the team’s fundraising coordinator – and the crew that walks the beat for donations.
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