Thursday, March 3, 2011


Church robs own parishioner

That may sound harsh but that's how I feel sometimes. We send our kids to our church's ECC (early childhood center), which is like a preschool. They would go 9am-2pm, three days a week, learning various things. Anyhow, on top of the monthly tuition, registration fee, cleaning fee, activity fee and whatever miscellaneous fees I can't keep track of, we have a set fundraiser amount. This year it was $131 per child, or $262 for both. Basically you either raise that amount or you will be forced to "buy out", i.e. pay the remaining balance. Granted, they do give you two fund raising opportunities. In the beginning of the year, we had to sell food from a catalog. It ranged from pretzels and cookies to soups and pizza. It was drastically overpriced and the pictures in the catalog didn't even look appetizing. How are you suppose to push a product if you yourself wouldn't even consider consuming it? "Buy some cheese pizza for $12. Sure you can get a better, tastier pizza delivered to your door at the same price but why would you want to do a silly thing like that? Fresh is overrated. Frozen pizza is the way go." Needless to say, we didn't sell much. We got the sympathy buys from our parents and siblings but that was it. Our last fundraiser opportunity was selling poinsettias and cactus during Christmas time. Poinsettias make sense but cactus? Who would want a cactus? Why can't we sell something good like Girl Scout cookies and those candy chocolate bars with almonds that little league kids sell. In the end they deduct the amount raised from the amount owed and my remaining balance was $204. Shit.

Fresh is overrated.

Last Friday the kids had an art show and whatever spent there goes towards your fundraiser balance. The art show sells arts and crafts made by the kids and my intention was to buy over $200 worth of "art". I figured at least I'll get something out of it. New this year at the art show were gift baskets, each with their own theme, for silent auction. They had about eight various themed baskets displayed... a Crayola-themed basket (markers, paints and chalk), movie night basket (Blu-ray player with various movies along with a Gringo's gift card), photography basket (camera, photo paper, photography books) and other filled-to-the-rim baskets. They were all nice. At this point, I said forget buying art, I'm going for one of those baskets and with the amount that I owed, I'm a shoe-in to win. In the end, waiting until the last moment to bid, I went for the beach/swim package. It included an ice chest filled with various pool/beach toys (beach umbrella, water balls, water balloons, water guns, pool rings, etc.) and six 30 minute swim lessons. Oh, and a $25 gift card to Coldstone. It was a nice surprise as I already came to terms that I had to write a $204 check for the amount owed, so all of those goodies seemed free to me.

This is what I get for not selling the kids' fundraiser stuff.

I don't feel so bad about forking over the money since I actually got something in return, unlike the previous two years, but I still feel slightly cheated by our church. First, they make us pay tuition for the full month of August in which they only go for one day that month! Second, they have random teacher conference days and take holidays days earlier, e.g. Friday off for President's Day on Monday, thereby shortening the week. Can I get a prorated tuition? I think not. Third, they can set any kind of fee, tuition or fundraiser amount and you have no control over it. Who would accuse a church of abusing their power, taking advantage of their parishioners? I don't mind donating that amount of money but it's just the way they do it. In the end, all the money goes towards supporting the church so I shouldn't even feel this way. I'm such an asshole.

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