Bathloads of local savings can revamp school playground

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Nora McCallister, a first grade student at Bath Elementary School, with the Save Around coupon book.

Bath Elementary School is holding its biggest fundraiser of the year this month to purchase new equipment and teacher appreciation gifts. This year, the school hopes to use the money to revamp the playground. 

The school has been doing the fundraiser for nearly 10 years, and Kim Kracko, the school’s administrative assistant, said community members and parents love it. 

It’s called the Save Around Coupon Book Fundraiser, and the school gets to keep half the proceeds. The book costs $25 and offers deals to local and national businesses that don’t expire until the end of the year, Kracko said. 

“Sometimes we’re hit pretty hard with fundraisers, but this is one you get something you’ll really use out of it,” said Christine McCallister, a mother of two children in the school district. “It’s not like you’re getting more wrapping paper or five pieces of chocolate for $30. It’s actually something you’ll use.” 

There’s a new contactless option for purchasing online, which curbs pandemic concerns and allows greater access. 

“We have a lot of students that have relatives elsewhere, so they can share the link with them,” Kracko said. 

In the past, supporters would have to pay by cash or check. The contactless, online purchasing option conveniently came about a year before COVID started, said Aaron Verhagen, a regional sales representative at Save Around, the company hosting the fundraiser. 

“It kind of came out in a perfect scenario,” Verhagen said. 

Even with the online option, Verhagen said the in-person route is still better. 

“People love to see the book, I think,” Verhagen said. 

Verhagen runs the Michigan markets, and finds local businesses that are interested in participating. There’s no cost for the local merchants to get involved, as long as they honor the deals. The group looking to raise funds, usually a nonprofit, keeps half the proceeds from selling the coupon books, and Save Around keeps the other half. 

“It’s kind of a win-win-win strategy for everyone participating in the program,” Verhagen said. 

There are five books localized to different areas in Michigan; a Grand Rapids book; Lakeshore, including Holland, Muskegon and Grand Rapids; Flint and Saginaw; Kalamazoo and Battle Creek; and Lansing and Jackson, Verhagen said. 

Feb. 25th will conclude Bath Elementary School’s Save Around Fundraiser for the year.

“It’s $25 … if you use it twice, you’ve already paid for it,” McCallister said. 

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