When is Junk Food Fundraising Okay?

Photo by marc.flores

Yoni Freedhoff, a Canadian obesity doc that writes the blog Weighty Matters, has a problem with nonprofits that preach one thing but act differently when it comes to fundraising. The latest example is Canada’s SickKids Foundation. On its web site SKF makes a dire prediction.

“Current trends are troubling. This is the first generation of children in modern history that may have a shorter lifespan than their parents because of child health issues like obesity.”

But when it comes to raising money, SKF is willing to live with kids living shorter lives.

As Dr. Freedhoff points out, the SickKids Foundation is proposing to fight the troubling trend of obesity “by encouraging the ongoing normalization of eating out, supporting the health washing of junk food, and by providing consumers (including children and parents of children) further incentives not to actually cook.”

SickKids Foundation is not the first nonprofit, nor will it be the last, to step into a sugary and fatty quagmire. Komen faltered with Buckets for the Cure while Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation had its Mega Jug of Soda for a Cure.

Komen and JDRF got hammered for their junk food fundraising, but where’s the outrage over McDonald’s, which uses Happy Meals to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House.

I wish I could say I’m consistent in my disapproval, but like you I’m not. I complain about Komen and JDRF, but then praise the anti-hunger organization Share Our Strength for a pinup program with Shake Shack that rewards donors with a shake–one of which has with nearly 900 calories.

There has to be a better way to feed hungry kids than with a program that leaves the rest of us fat and malnourished.

How do you feel about junk food fundraising? Do the means justify the end, or is this one table we just need to push ourselves away from?