Feeding Kids Sugar to Raise Money for Diabetes Research?

Yesterday was “Mug Root Beer Float” day at the Oakland A’s baseball game, at which families brought lots of kids to enjoy meeting celebrities, watching floats, and of course drinking root beer floats.

Yes, it sounds like it was fun.  And according to the press release, the event raised over $29,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

But as a friend of mine who went to the game commented, “Isn’t there something a little weird about feeding kids sugar at an event dedicated to dealing with a disease that’s all about the body’s inability to regulate blood sugar?”

Call me a curmudgeon, but I’d say it’s very weird. No one has yet found the cause of diabetes, but doctors are certainly raising alarm bells about sugar consumption and obesity, both of which are rampant in the United States. I give the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation credit for creating a business partnership that got them in the headlines and raised some significant amounts, but what a mixed message to send.

Of course, this isn’t the first time that processed and sugary foods have been drafted into the cause of fundraising. And people are taking notice — and better yet, suggesting creative alternatives.  For example, you’ll find some helpful tips on healthy food alternatives in this guide from Canada’s Nova Scotia Department of Education, called “Fundraising with Healthy Food and Beverages.”