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Snacks for Children at School

Money Saving Tip of the Month (featured column)
submitted by Joy Michalicek

My son is in first grade and was asked to bring a snack from home everyday for afternoon snack time.  Snacks are to be store bought and not homemade because of health code and kids sharing snacks.

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In addition, there are many kids in his class that are low income and cannot afford to bring snacks. I started sending store bought fruit snacks everyday. He always asked for more and shared them with his friends who were going without. These fruit snacks were getting rather pricey to say the least, let alone buying for the other kids in the class. I have tried to teach my son to share and wanted him to keep doing so.

The following week, I noticed in the newspaper that one of the local grocery stores had a sale on cereal which included free milk with the purchase of three bags of cereal. By using manufacturer's coupons the final price of the cereal equaled the price of the gallon of milk. I purchased the cereal and brought it to his teacher. Before I could ask her about using cereal as a snack she said, "Is this for snack?" I told her yes, and that it was for everyone and not just my son. She was very appreciative and said that it was very generous. She had been buying snacks for the other students that were going without.

I asked her to let me know when the supplies were low and that I would continue to send cereal with my son for a snack to share throughout the year. To date she has done so and has also sent home any coupons that may have come in the cereal.

By shopping the cereal sales and using coupons, I have been able to supply snacks for the whole classroom for less money than sending one fruit snack with my son every day. It has also been a real time-saver every morning. In addition, when other parents learned their children were eating cereal instead of pricey fruit snacks they started sending bags of pretzels and boxes of cereal to share as well. No child in the class has gone without, and no child has been singled out as not being able to afford a snack. My plan next year is to do the same.

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