It all begins innocently enough. Your child hands you a folder full of dittos, memos and other assorted school papers for you to sign, sort or attach to metal kitchen appliances with little magnets.
Thenyou see it. The phrase "fund-raiser" leaps off the page of the glossy multicolor pamphlets advertising various dried meat products, sugarproducts or holiday decorating products.
You sigh as you add it to the growing pile of crab feast tickets,dance-a-thon sponsor sheets and raffle tickets with a chance to win two cases of motor oil.
I'm not complaining. I know that fund raising is important. But what I'd like to see are some creative prizes and gift suggestions.
First prize in the Greater Glen Burnie JuniorSports League raffle could be an infielder who will cut your grass every week from April to October -- without whining.
Or maybe the math club at Corkran Middle School could balance the winner's checkbook for a year. (I'd buy a dozen tickets for that one, and I'm sure thetellers at my bank would buy me a couple too. I'll just write a check for it.)
How about paying someone's utility bills for a year? Ormaking a car payment the month of December?
Since no one really enjoys selling cheese gift packages (after all, does anyone actually plan their holiday gift-giving around aged dairy products?), how aboutselling matching flatware, or towels or sheets. I haven't had a matched set of towels in my linen closet since 1982.
Just a few suggestions. I won't offer any more because if I don't stop now someone will nominate me to chair a fund-raising committee and I just got rid ofa nervous twitch from my last committee assignment.
The Oakwood Elementary School PTA is starting the year off with a new variation of a tried and true fund-raiser -- the coupon book.
Students are selling the Gold C Savings Spree book of coupons for $9. Each coupon book offers hundreds of dollars in savings on such items as clothing, food and entertainment for children, teen-agers and their parents.
The Gold C booklets are modeled after a similar savings booklet targeted at adult consumers. According to Sheril Rundle, the PTA president, this is the first year the books are being sold in the area.
"The price is low so that teen-agers can buy them. All the items aregeared to their age," she said.
Dozens of area businesses are participating in the coupon sales, including records and tape stores, fast-food restaurants, clothing stores and bowling alleys.
In addition, the booklets offer reduced or free admission to Baltimore Skipjacks and Washington Capitals hockey games, the Baltimore Zoo and the Babe Ruth Museum.
Oakwood pupils are selling the books throughout the community. The books also can be purchased by calling the school office, 761-1639.
In addition, the Oakwood PTA is planning a spaghetti supper from 6:30 to 8 Friday, Sept. 27, in the school cafeteria.
The menu consists of spaghetti and meatballs, salad, bread and butter, dessert and a beverage.
Dinner tickets can be purchased for $6for adults and $3 for children under 12 -- or $17 for the entire family. Members of the Oakwood PTA will receive a $1 discount on adult tickets or a $2 discount on the family price.
Tickets must be purchased by Monday.
The proceeds from the spaghetti dinner and the sale of the coupon books will be used to erect a sign in front of the school.
Occasionally you'll hear the meteorologist on television announce the pollen count or you might catch the tag end of a commercial for an asthma inhaler, but unless someone close to you suffers from asthma or chronic allergies it is difficult to understand the impact such illnesses can have on a family.
An asthma and allergy support group for parents and adults coping with breathing difficultiesmeets at 7 tonight at the North County library. Ferndale resident Nancy Ostrosky will lead the group in an exchange of support and information with other parents and health-care professionals.
Ostrosky understands how asthma can change a family's life. Her 9-year-old daughter, Katie, has had breathing problems all of her life. Katie must take 11 medications each day and six allergy shots each week.
But Katie's illness doesn't stop her from enjoying the normal activities of a fourth-grader. She plays the piano and enjoys swimming. She is active in Girl Scouts and loves to write poetry and plays.
Katie's desire to have a "regular" life was one of the reasons she was selected to be Maryland's 1990-1991 poster child for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation.
"With Katie I didn't want a child sitting on the sidelines during gym class. I want her to be able to say, 'I can do it today,' or say, 'I'm not up to running today.' To have a choice," Ostrosky said.
"The stereotype of the sickly child is there, and I don'twant that for my child. That's why I started to get involved."
When Katie was born, her family lived in Germany and an outside supportsystem for her parents was non-existent. Now the family lives in Ferndale and their needs are different.