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The Truth about Food Fundraising Guidelines

By Clay Boggess on Mar 10, 2015
The Truth about Food Fundraising Guidelines

Learn how the health guidelines affect food sales.

There's been a lot of talk in recent years about nutrition as it relates to food fundraisers. Schools have had many questions about what can be sold and where and when they can sell it. Confusion over this issue has caused many to question and others to simply avoid selling any food altogether.

The old days of conducting candy sales on campus during school hours are long gone; however, once people take the time to review and understand the new rules, they'll realize that there are more opportunities to sell food than they might have thought.

What follows are some helpful truths that sponsors should understand regarding USDA fundraising guidelines.

What about Candy Sales?

Students can no longer conduct a candy bar fundraiser during school hours. Although, they can sell the bars before and after school. Yet candy displayed in a sales brochure can be sold anytime because it's not intended for immediate consumption.

Specific nutritional guidelines must be met if students sell food directly to other students during school hours. For example, our original beef jerky meets all federal nutrition requirements, so it does qualify as a direct sale item.

Also, if you're wondering whether a popcorn fundraiser meets the smart snack standards, consider how it's packaged. For instance, if butter is added to popcorn, the nutritional information for this also needs to be considered.

How USDA Guidelines Affect Brochure Fundraisers

As long as groups follow their district guidelines, there should be no restrictions on brochure orders being taken at school. Brochure merchandise deliveries, such as cookie dough or frozen food, are acceptable if the food is not consumed at school.

What about Bake Sales & Concession Stands?

Groups can still have bake sales on an infrequent basis as long as the food items are not prohibited by district or state rules or don't violate local school wellness policies. And anything can be sold out of a concession stand as long as it's not during school hours. We recommend checking with your local school district for any specific policy requirements.

For more information on how USDA fundraising guidelines might affect your group, visit

See our brochure fundraisers.

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Author Bio Clay Boggess, Author

Clay Boggess has been designing fundraising programs for schools and various nonprofit organizations throughout the US since 1999. He’s helped administrators, teachers, and outside support entities such as PTAs and PTOs raise millions of dollars. Clay is an owner and partner at Big Fundraising Ideas.



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