California Nutrition Laws force Wilson Campus Life Fundraising to get Creative

Throughout the week of Mar. 27th, Glen A. Wilson High School planned to hold Club Food Week, a week-long food market event during lunchtime in which all proceeds go to each respective club on the Wilson campus.

In the week leading up to the function, clubs who were interested in selling food attended numerous meetings to discuss which foods and servings would best comply with the district’s nutrition guidelines. But after district Food Services Director Celeste Calubaquib attended the first day of the week-long fundraising event, clubs and student-led organizations were forced to reevaluate once again how the ways they navigate fundraising for their activity. 

The district’s heavy regulations continue to place pressure on the learning communities beyond the classroom that are the essence of student life on each Hacienda La Puente Unified School District campus. With so many boundaries to comply with, club presidents feel constrained from raising the necessary funds needed to support their club and each member within it.

Senior Christian Santos, Founder and President of GAWHS Air Corps, whose club was able to sell on Monday shares how the regulations inhibit his club from hosting the kinds of events that would get them to immerse themselves in the Aviation expertise on a personal and interactive level.

“Largely, because we are a new club, we had no funds in the club bank account,” Santos explained. “Selling at Club Food Week was the first time we were able to acquire any actual source of income for us to be able to do anything.”

For many clubs, the food they sold was paid for out of pocket. So when clubs were asked to cut portions in half because of an overload of caloric content–so much so that clubs selling milk tea with boba or fruit tea with lychee jelly were asked to pour their drinks into cups as little as 4 ounces–there was concern that students would be disinclined to buy the food item they were selling.

Club Food Days are crucial to supporting on-campus extracurricular activities, as it is the most productive way to raise funds in a short amount of time. In just this past year, clubs are now prohibited from collecting membership dues as a requirement to sign-up to be in the club. So with no other source of income, a food-vending event must be here to stay.

Vice Principal Dr. Ho began overseeing activities this year. She wants students to know that she and the administration want to hold these functions to support campus life, but must do so within the parameters that are set by the state of California. All regulations come from the state of California so the districts are the ones who make those regulations to follow what the state demands or else the school could get cited.

Dr. Ho explained how one of the regulations that Club Food Day must comply with is how the food being sold during school hours must not compete with cafeteria food. For example, one club sold Raising Cane’s chicken fingers on the second day of Club Food Week, but if they wished to sell chicken sandwiches from Chick-fil-A, it would compete with the sandwiches given during lunch by the cafeteria.  

Dr. Ho thinks that she and the clubs need to have more notice next year and have dates set ahead of time in a more timely manner so that the district can preapprove the foods weeks prior from presidents and their families going out to buy the food they will sell.

However, in lieu of all of these conditions, Dr. Ho and Mrs. Branconier, Associative Student Body (ASB) Director at Wilson, and Activities commissioner leader Haisyl Ng have begun to pour their efforts into supporting campus life through a community Night Market event–in which the event’s feature of being well after school hours will take away the nutrition restrictions that would apply to a traditional Club Food Day. 

The Night Market would allow for not just clubs, but sports and cocurricular activities such as the Wilson Prowler (yearbook) and the Dance Team to fundraise for their organizations as well. 

The Night Market would serve as a community event that will serve all organizations participating. The main focus is on the students and how they can continue to raise as many funds as possible without violating state regulations. Mrs. Branconier and Dr. Ho plan on scheduling four total Night Markets when they get together this month to calendarize the 2023-2024 school year, giving students set timestamps of financial income to support their activity as best they can. 

In a larger event that opens up to the community and families of the clubs participating, organizations could sell nonfood-related items such as games or handmade, small business items to still get those funds needed to support their organization.

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