Thursday, 28 May 2015

The Pancake Saga

I don't want to talk fund raising and if it is needed - I think we all know it is and all get irritated by it at times. I know it is a very contentious issue. I do however want to talk about different approaches. I stood amazed the last two days on the different ways two grade groups chose to approach the exact same issue. I can not tell you right now exactly how it will work on the day but we can have a little look back after the event.
Image credit

For the background, our school hosts the second biggest Bull*etjie rugby event every year - second only to the Loftus event organised by Blue Bu*lls rugby. This year over 2000 boys between grade 0/6 and 0/8 has been entered for the event. It is a huge fund raiser for the schools' sports fund as every grade hosts a stall . Pancakes has always been the domain of the grade group that left the school last year - and this year due to the popularity of the stall both grade 1 and 2 was made responsible for it. There will be two stalls next to each other selling the same product for the same price. This does make sense - ask any South African where the longest queue will be at the church bazaar or sports meet . It's always at the pancake stall.

Each of the two grades have to be responsible for 1800 pancakes!  A daunting number. The grade 2 mom in charge of the Bull*etjie admin is a master pancake baker and immediately took a day leave at work to start baking of Friday. She put out what she needs in terms of ingredients and equipment on the Whatsapp group - with a call for help to bake. Within less than 15 minutes every item was offered as donation. In fact, a lot of people were so disappointed that they could not help that she redistributed the ingredients the following day. For instance we offered 90 eggs - in the end we need to donate 30.

The grade 1 mom in charge asked around the moms on Monday night and in general the question was if we could buy pancakes and still sell at a profit. There was no mom to say that she has done it before and the task seemed huge. So she went ahead and did what the moms asked - called a tuisnywerheid (home industry) and got a cost. She then calculated that each family has to contribute R180 to buy and then sell again. The profit would be R2 per pancake. All she did was do what they asked for. Huge lash out from the moms. (I have to admit that thinking you will be paying this and still have to work and sell was not no 1 on my list, but I may have been ok with it). So a quick meeting at practice last night and lo and behold another mom stood up and said she will organise it and follow the same approach to see who can donate what. A lot of mom also offered to bake ahead of the time to have some ready on the day. Last night at 9 she put it out to the 13 (of 33 moms) that was at the meeting last night. And guess what, this morning before 9 all but 15 kg of flour was offered. Once she now has the other moms on the Whatsapp group she will put out the ingredients again and we may also be able to reduce the amounts that has already been offered. We still need a lot of bakers and equipment but I am sure that will also come.

I guess the logic is that your approach is what is critical. Parents may rather buy R100 of goods, offer some help and know a clean profit is made than donating R180 with the knowledge that we are paying someone else to make money from us to donate more to the school. If that makes sense. I have offered to bake for them , and so had Hunter. I am sure we are going to work hard that day but there is always some good in knowing that you did your part. I will follow up after the event. WE amy all learn something out of this.


  1. I hope it works out for you. I would go with the home industry option given a choice since my pancakea just never come out right.

  2. Good luck! Hope it goes well! :-)

  3. I remember those days...they were fun...but I was also happy when it was over. I think you know what I mean.

  4. i make the best pancakes :) BUT I really only like to make a double batch at most :) I would get way too bored making 1800. Still, I could do the money and the chit-chat :) while selling.

    Good for you guys, it sounds like it's very well-organised (must be Afrikaans moms - I don't see the same level of getting involved in our schools - maybe that is non-PC to say but it's my experience?)

    1. Maybe its still coming Marcia? Believe me we have our good share of non involved parents but mostly parents invest a lot in the school

  5. What I find amazing is that it is always the same moms at all the events multi tasking and working. They are all very eager in Grade 1 but by the time the kids are in Grade 6 there may be one or two volunteers left.

    I did some sums the other night after the headmaster said how much the school need in fund raising. If you take fund raising away and increase school fees you are looking at about R50 per child per month. But unfortunately that is if everybody pay their school fees but there are a lot of people who don't.

  6. I am hopeless in the pancake department and would donate with pleasure.

    That is a huge amount of pancakes!


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