I hate these Box Top and Soup Label Challenges! And I have three reasons why ....
Guest blogger Tina: Last Sunday night, I stood in front of my kitchen pantry for a half hour, scouring the shelves for products containing the coveted Box Top for Education. Why? Because my kids' school is holding yet another Box Top Challenge, and each student's quota is two pages' worth -- or $2.
Dear Beloved Elementary School: Can I please just give you $2 instead?
Here are three reasons why Box Top and Soup Label Challenges drive me crazy:
1. They're oppressive to women. My husband never scours the pantry, desperately searching for a product with that elusive little rectangle. He's never stayed up late to clip them and glue them onto a photographed sheet using half of a dried-up glue stick. During the last challenge, a friend of mine carried a huge Ziploc bag -- full of tops collected from coworkers, friends and family -- around with her for days. At every afternoon pickup and school event, there she'd sit, gluing more tops onto collection sheets. This is not how I want to spend my free time.
2. They make me a failure in my kids' eyes. The reward for the most box tops collected is a class pizza party. Since my kids never eat pizza (that's sarcasm), this is very important to them. Every morning, they ask me how many box tops I've collected so far. The answer to that question is always "three," because that's how many I had saved in a short-lived fit of enthusiasm after the last challenge. It is not an answer they like to hear.
3. Two words: processed food. Box tops, by nature, are attached to a box. And boxed food typically contains processed food. With the exception of cereal, I try to avoid letting my kids eat that stuff. Why can't we have a challenge where we all collect those little stickers I'm always peeling off my fruits and vegetables?
Don't get me wrong: I'm grateful for all the money these two companies have donated to schools across the country. According to their respective websites, Box Tops for Education has donated $320 million to our nation's schools, and Campbell's Labels for Education has been supporting schools for nearly 40 years. Our schools need every bit of help they can get right now. But at the same time, I know I'm not the only mom who's found herself scrounging in the cereal cupboard the night before a challenge ends. Sometimes it would just be easier to tape two dollar bills to the page instead.
That night in front of the pantry, I didn't find any more box tops. But I was thrilled to discover several cans of Campbell's soup. Which is why neither of my kids won their pizza party, but I now have 12 cans of soup in my cupboard, their contents identifiable only by the words written in Sharpie on the bare can. That's got to count for something, right?