Be Bold. Take Action. Make Change.

I meet a lot of parents who are angry about how their kids are being fed. They’re mad about school lunches and cookie dough fundraisers, about sugary snacks at preschool, about doughnuts on the soccer sidelines.

But only a few of these parents act on their anger.

Some don’t want to rock the boat or be seen as complainers. Others complain, but it ends there. Honestly, I’ve been both of these types in the past.

A friend of mine has this quote from ex-President-of-the-moment Abraham Lincoln in her email signature:

“He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help.”

I think about this quote a lot. Because I sure do like to get up on my soapbox (read “Soccer Mom Soapbox”). But I’ve also found that it’s a lot more satisfying to do something about it (read “Anger Management: Turning a Rant into Action”). I’ve also found that people take your complaints (let’s call them constructive criticisms) a lot more seriously when you have possible solutions—and more importantly, have the willingness to act on them.

Believe me, I get it: Like you, I have an endless to-do list and little time for extra projects.

But if you have your own (well-worn) soapbox, if the thought of another candy bar fundraiser or another snack of cookies and juice at preschool makes you crazy, do something about it. This year, make a resolution to act on your feelings, to jump in and get your hands dirty, and be part of the solution.

Here are some ideas:

  • Attend a PTA meeting to raise concerns and offer your help.
  • Schedule a time to speak with the principal or cafeteria manager about school lunch. Find out if your school district has a parent advisory group.
  • Volunteer to bring a healthy snack to the class party (or better yet, organize it).
  • Sign up to donate healthy food to school events.
  • Join your school’s wellness committee—or start one (read: “School Wellness in Action” )
  • Talk to your child’s coach, preschool teacher, or camp director (or send an email) about the snacks they serve and make suggestions for healthier options.
If you’re doing something to advocate for healthier kids’ food, I’d love to hear about it! And if you’re a blogger who advocates for healthier snacks, grab my “I’m a Snacktivist” badge here.

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  1. Ilse Berg says

    We decline to participate in any food-based fundraising activities, and I repeatedly offer alternative suggestions to the organizers. This includes Girl Scout cookies. In lieu of participating in this fundraiser, which aggravates me on several levels, we give the troop a donation.

    • says

      Ilse, good for you–I hope someone will eventually take you up on your suggestions for alternatives. Keep on keeping on! Our school did a citrus fundraiser one year (oranges and grapefruits from Florida), which I was thrilled about, but it didn’t raise much money. That was disappointing.

  2. Kelly says

    This is a great post! We all need a reminder that when we seek change, especially “healthy” change, it’s easy for the target to feel attacked as being “unhealthy.” I can understand why someone would feel defensive, especially when they also feel that a tradition or custom is being criticized.

    Thanks for the perspective!

    • says

      Good point, Kelly. Seeking change should always involve being polite, reasonable, and understanding–instead of demanding, rude, or personal. You just gave me an idea for a future post. Thanks! 🙂

  3. says

    Great post, Sally. Thought I’d share an example of what one parent can do to make change. A good friend of mine took over her child’s school snack program. She connected with a local CSA and arranged for fruit and snacking vegetable boxes to be delivered. Then, she worked with the PTA on funding and mobilized parents across all grades to volunteer to come in to cut, prep, and deliver the snacks to classrooms. It’s been a huge hit. This is all done in a large, inner-city public school.


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