Make Smiles Possible with These Foodie Fundraisers

Awesome students like you are fundraising to help us provide meals and health care items for potential patients and their families in Guatemala, Nicaragua and Panama. But we know it can be tough to think of fundraiser to try.

To help you get started, we’ve listed out these tried and tested easy-to-start, food-based fundraisers to make sure our patients are well nourished and healthy enough for surgery!

By Morgan Banaszek, U.S. northern region associate

Ten-year-old Livia from Italy took part in a virtual baking class during the holidays and used her new skills for good. She sold cookies as a Sending Hope fundraiser and raised enough money to cover a week’s worth of meals for a potential patient and his family.

Bake Sale or Candy Grams

February has a lot going on: Not only is “Sending Hope” our big campaign this month, but many will celebrate Valentine’s Day on Feb. 14. A lot of clubs are marking the occasion by planning bake sale or candy gram fundraisers. We know your traditional in-school bake sales and candy grams might not be possible this year, but by thinking outside of the box, you can keep these activities.

Try holding a bake sale at the end of your driveway or at a public park. You could deliver the items via mailbox or leave them outside the front door. If all your club members sell baked goods or candy grams in their individual neighborhoods, think about the number of families in Guatemala, Panama and Nicaragua you could help to raise meals for!

Krispy Kreme

Doughnuts are a sweet treat that most people enjoy, and Krispy Kreme makes it extra simple to raise funds by selling their doughnuts to benefit Operation Smile! They even have contactless options that work well for any community situation. Check out this site to learn how to sell their doughnuts as a no-nonsense fundraiser for your club, all with the goal to support as many patients as possible with essential nutrition in Guatemala, Panama and Nicaragua.

Popcorn Fundraiser

Similar to Krispy Kreme, Double Good is a company selling premium popcorn online. Their virtual platform provides your club an opportunity to fundraise 50 percent profit. Your club can set up a virtual pop-up store fundraiser to support your cause. There is even an app to make things extra easy.

Your club’s main work will be in promoting the event to family, friends and your community and encouraging all your supporters to purchase some popcorn to support Operation Smile patients. You could event combine this fundraiser with a virtual movie night for your club or family where you enjoy popcorn and watch a movie together via Zoom!

Percentage Night with a Restaurant Partner

We know this is a favorite of many clubs, and now February is the right month to organize a restaurant partnership to specifically support “Sending Hope.” Many chains like Panera, Chipotle, Jersey Mike’s and more are willing to organize these types of event. You could also try approaching a local business in your town or region that might also be open to this type of activity.

Choose a restaurant most people in your community like, then call and ask to speak with the owner or a manager about arranging a percentage day or night to support Operation Smile. Explain a little about Operation Smile, your club and what you do. Decide on a day and maybe specified time for the event and then your club can start promoting. Remember, most restaurants will want to know Operation Smile’s tax ID number, so that their donation will be tax-deductible. Your regional associate can provide this number for you, so don’t be shy to ask.

Buy a meal, give a meal opportunity

Like the percentage night, this option relies on a food and beverage business partnership with the aim of the fundraiser to help raise the same amount of money for meals of patients as meals sold during your event. For this event, you would want to ask the food-based business if, instead of a percentage night, they would be willing to hold a special one-day “buy a meal, give a meal” event in honor of the “Sending Hope” project.

For every meal, snack, drink (any item the business chooses) the business will donate the price of that item to Operation Smile’s “Sending Hope” initiative. Think about targeting shops that might be doing well during the pandemic, such as coffee shops, pizza places and sandwich shops. Once you have secured the right business partner, all your club will need to organize is promotion of the event and asking friends, family and your community to visit that business and buy the items that will support Operation Smile.

For all these activities, don’t forget to make flyers and post on social media about your event and the “Sending Hope” campaign!