Schools all over New York City have given students the opportunity to sell candy. At the Academy of American Studies, about 100 students have blue candy bags to sell as a way of raising money to pay for their graduation requirements, souvenirs, trips, and many other costly luxuries. Does this benefit the students and the school? Is it detrimental to their future and health? Can we sell healthier products?
In high school, many individuals depend on vending machines or the school lunch to provide them with their basic calorie needs. While schools have been trying to improve their school food, environment studies have shown that 71% of middle schools and 89% of high schools have vending machines that sell mostly junk food to their students (NHLBI). These are high in calories, have very little nutritional value, and individuals that rely on them don’t usually get full which may lead to overeating.
According to the Association of Fund-Raising Distributors & Suppliers (AFRDS), analysts have proposed and discussed whether programs or non-profit organizations should be created to orient parents and teachers of a stabilizer between nutrition and fitness so that they can make healthy lifestyle decisions or if junk food in schools should be eliminated entirely. Elif, a member of student government at the Academy of American Studies, believes “It should definitely not be eliminated because many students cannot afford to pay for school needs so they use candy bags to make up for that.” she stated in a recent interview. Selling candy in schools provides a contribution for the student body’s educational experience because the schools fund can only provide for so much. Khiabet, also a member of student government, believes that schools should sell candy as a way to fundraise, she stated “I like that students sell candy especially because I am one of them, and I believe that we all get hungry, just seeing the candy bag and getting something to eat satisfies us”. When asked about whether it promotes obesity or not she responded “I think it depends on what you buy and how often, some students buy it every now and then, others buy it constantly so it depends on you”. This brings up the question: will the school be able to function the same way without these types of fundraisers?
Although Michelle Obama’s campaign to end childhood obesity raised a lot of awareness and cheerful hoorays, others questioned whether it will result in “lost revenue for the schools” (seriouseats.com). Eliminating junk food from a school’s environment could be detrimental not only to their future, but the students as well. Where will the money come from? How will students in clubs and sports teams buy the equipment they need? The simple solution lies in the problem. If the schools slowly decreased the amount of processed food sold and provided some healthier options, it might not create such a huge impact on their financial stability and the students would see a positive change. According to Selina, an Academy high school student, selling protein bars like Nature Valley and KIND, mixed nuts, seeds, raisins, dry fruit, and dark chocolate, will better the student’s health. But selling food is not the only way to raise money, another high school student, Bryant, proposed that “during classes students could sell school supplies like pens, pencils, post-it notes, folders, and paper”. When asked about whether or not this will succeed he stated “I believe that the Academy of American Studies will do better when it comes to student obesity if healthier products are sold that can benefit the students in their school environment”. These are all healthy alternatives to better every kid’s future. The Coordinator of Student Affairs and the Student Government Advisor, Mr. Randle, stated “I think selling healthy snacks are a great idea. We have tried to sell granola bars in the past. Unfortunately, it wasn’t very successful.” Perhaps we shouldn’t be questioning the school’s actions towards selling unhealthy snacks…we should question our own actions. The reason why it’s being sold is due to the popularity of purchases. If enough students care about promoting change, anything can be achieved.
Written by Rosa Jimenez