MacLeod Elementary School is a large step closer to making their dream of a new all-inclusive playground a reality. Another highly-successful School Committee Council gift card drive has wrapped with an estimated $130,000 in gift card sales. The gift card sale is both a fundraiser and a local shopping initiative, as all the gift cards are for local businesses.
“A big portion of that shout-out would go to Celebration Ford, they did $24,000-plus in gift cards and Hebert Grain Ventures was another really big supporter of that as well,” said an excited Tammy Cole, Principal at MacLeod Elementary School.
As the gift cards are for local businesses, money remains in the area to further bolster the immediate economy. Another trend noticed was the amount of businesses using the gift cards as a Christmas bonus for their employees.
“Everything’s local, so all of the money stays local,” Cole said. “The SCC gets about $9,000 out of that profit to turn into things that they can do to support the school’s Learning Plan.”
A portion of those profits will be devoted to the playground fund, which will update the well-loved equipment currently at the school.
“We want to make it an inclusive playground so that all children and all people of all ages can access it. It’s something we don’t really have in our community and so that’s why we really are trying to push for that dream to happen,” explained Cole. “Plus, our old structure is starting to need to be changed. We can’t replace some of the things on it, it’s just starting to really age out.”
There’s also a method to the timing of the gift card campaign as the Christmas season approaches.
“The timing of it’s purposeful because we hope that they buy the gift cards and then kick off when we’re doing the Moonlight Madness,” Cole said, noting that getting the gift cards out in student led conferences coincides with a week leading up to Moonlight Madness.
“So we try to really time it so that those are out right before the holidays, when people are doing holiday shopping.”
Now in it’s third year, the gift card campaign continues to see not only sales increase by $13,000 over the year previous, but more businesses are also coming on board with the program.
“We definitely saw an increase, I think we had about four or five new businesses this year,” Cole said, adding that people also asked to keep them in mind for the next campaign.
It takes a huge team effort to run the fundraiser with SCC members distributing the initial letters to businesses, then students selling the gift cards, plus all the behind-the-scenes work.
“Here in the office, our admin assistants and my VP and myself, we sort and count and recount – even to get the totals to go to the business of the number of cards, everything has to be impeccably done,” Cole explained. “That’s $130,000 worth of cards that we’re sorting!”
Excitement among students is also brewing as there are prizes to be won including movie theatre passes, Moosomin Bucks, and 15 DQ Blizzard coupons.
Having gift cards included in the prizes was also a popular decision as Cole pointed out.
“What kid doesn’t like to go and spend some money themselves? It’s kind of nice because then they can do what they want with it,” she said.
By Ryan Kiedrowski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Original Published on Nov 20, 2023 at 13:36