Fuel the Power Band
The socio-economic make-up of our Band Program is 57% free and reduced lunch. Also, we have numerous children that are classified as homeless. In an effort to offset this, we started the Fuel the Power Band Program. Our students are fed meals that are donated by local businesses and community members before every single performance and many rehearsals. This also includes our trip to Grand Nationals. We always recognize these philanthropist for the week at every performance and rehearsal. This ensures our students to be well nourished throughout the season and helps maintain health and well-being.
The main audience for this is our impoverished students. Many of them need a lot of financial help to be able to participate in this activity. It is a huge relief of the parents to not to have to worry about their children being fed a nutritious meal while they are participating in this activity.
Overview of planning and execution process for this project
Our booster club has a committee of parents that will plan this about 6 months before the beginning of marching season. Our students usually do not eat pizza or hot dogs at these events. We have a specific food guideline that a nutritious prepared for us several years ago. Our meals are high in protein, exactly what you would want a student to have in order to have the energy to participate in this activity. We have a team of parents that prepare and serve the food. Many of the things that are donated are meats, vegetables, fruits, bread, and water. At times, multiple businesses donate will donate not one meal, but will provide us with an item for the entire season. For instance, one business gives us bread every week, another gives us water whenever we are in need.
It has enabled us to form partnerships with many local business that are not tied to the band program. Many of them have learned a great deal of respect for our students and their work-ethic. This has led to several students being employed by these establishments. The other day a local manager told me that he would hire any band kid that walked through the door. He said that he never understood the commitment that these students possess until he had been around them. The only time he had been around them was through this program.
Explanation of current sponsor(s), longevity of sponsorship, sponsor levels, and benefits:
We do not have have any sponsorship levels for this. They all do this to help our students. We have been using this program for 4 seasons. Most of the sponsors stick with us every year. Many of them just see it as an opportunity to help a group of students.
Summary of sponsor research and outreach process:
This is a community outreach effort. We receive several meal sponsors through word of mouth, and promotion on our band instagram account. Frequently we get calls from church groups offering to host a meal, or from community members and businesses who have heard that another business sponsored and meal and would like to do the same.
Description of process for initiating and/or renewing sponsorships:
The main way we initiate this process is through phone calls and visiting local businesses. We have compiled a list of people who have helped in the past, we revisit the same people each year. Around 90% of the people who participate, do so on a repeated basis.
Every year we send letters to the sponsors. We also recognize them publicly at all public performances.
Specific Budget Breakdown
As I stated before, there is not a budget for this. I will say thought that last year, around $50,000 in food donations were made to the program. This was just done through phone calls and visits.
New or recurring project?Recurring
How did you update/change this project from its previous occurrence?
The basis of this has basically stayed the same. Instead of 1 parent being in charge, we have added an entire committee to make it an easier task. Also, we have started recognizing our sponsors on social media.
Challenges/obstacles that were encountered
Honestly, we did not have many issues getting this project off of the ground. Since we were not asking for “money” people are always willing to help support the students our school. The biggest issue is probably making sure that every event is covered. We eat weekly and sometimes 3 times a day at a marching contest. There are a large number of events to cover.
Measurement of the success/effectiveness of this project?
It took a huge financial impact off of the band program. We didn’t have to use school funds to feed the ensemble. We have several students that have allergies, are vegetarians, or are on special diets. Everywhere we go, we know that we can feed them and keep them healthy. Before this, it was ALWAYS a concern on how every student was going to be cared for on a band trip. We don’t have to worry about a student running out of money and not getting fed. We have also seen a drop in injuries throughout the season. This is related to the students getting a well-balanced meal.
Advice for someone looking to replicate this project in their own community?
Do not be afraid to ask for help. People want to help kids, especially ones that are hard-woking and underprivileged.