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'How Can I Get Out of My Daycare's Fundraisers?'

"My child’s preschool is expecting us to sell $20 boxes of baked goods to each raise hundreds of dollars to supposedly cover supplies at the center. I already pay more than $1,000 per month, I’m too busy to sell and I don’t want the unhealthy treats in my house. What can I do to support the school without going broke or crazy?"

Here’s something sweet: There are ways to contribute without becoming a traveling cupcake saleswoman. Mia Pritts, the head of early-childhood education at Wonderschool, a network of early-childhood programs, recommends asking the center what the minimum dollar amount they’re hoping each family will raise. If it won’t set you back too much, make a donation instead of selling. Call it a day.

But if that number is still a burden (and really, what isn’t when you’re already shelling out $1,000 monthly?), ask which supplies they need, and whether they must be brand new. You might be able to buy them inexpensively, or donate what you already have in your home, says Florence Ann Romano, a former nanny and author of Nanny and Me. Gently used toys, books and games might be exactly what they’re looking for, and you likely have some gifts the kids haven’t touched in months, or ever.

Your time might be considered just as valuable. If you’ve got a flexible schedule or some carryover PTO days, offer to volunteer in some way. For example, you can do a craft in the classroom, read the class a story or tell them about your job. Any of those would be quicker than fundraising—and more fun to boot.

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