Clearmeadow Public School in Newmarket is selling rain barrels as part of a fundraiser that members of school council call a win-win.
John Vieira, chair of the council and whose daughter is in Grade 8, said COVID-19 has forced them to get creative with fundraising.
“We’ve seen many different types of fundraisers throughout the years. Of course, the last couple of years have been very challenging due to the pandemic,” he said.
ShaKed Kaplan, a school council volunteer and whose daughter is in Grade 2, first brought up the idea of a rain barrel fundraiser a few years ago but last year was the first time they decided to go for it.
“Last year we said 'go for it' and she ran with it and it was a huge success,” Vieira said.
They sold 125 barrels last year, raising about $1,250. This year they hope to sell even more.
Vieira and Kaplan are both big fans of the barrels and said they use them a lot around their homes and gardens.
“I myself have already three barrels and I’m going to have another one I bought,” Kaplan said. She uses the water for her small garden where she grows veggies and fruit.
However, you don't have to be a gardener to make use of rain water. Kaplan said her kids like to play with water balloons in the summer and she gets them to fill up from the rain barrels.
“They love it because it’s warm water,” she said, adding that she also doesn't have to worry about how much water they're using.
Vieira said he doesn't have much of a garden but uses the water his rain barrel collects for his house plants.
"They thrive on it. It was incredible how much bigger they got just from using natural rain water versus tap water,” he said.
He also has a small pool in his backyard and uses the rain water to top it off regularly.
“I would just set to drain my rain barrel right into the skimmer so that it filters the water and saves money that way,” he said.
The pair said they hope to encourage others to use rain barrels to save water and money but they also want to fundraise for their school.
“We, as a parent community, raise funds to help enhance certain things in the school,” Vieira said.
In the past, they have used the funds to provide nutritious snacks or lunches for students, cover the cost of licensing fees, bring in presenters to speak about topics such as mental health, and purchased a new scoreboard for the gym.
“It’s just an enhancement to help support our school, do a little bit more for our kids,” he said.
The fundraiser runs until April 27. Pickup of the barrels will take place Thursday, April 28 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the kiss and ride at Clearmeadow P.S.
Orders — prices begin at $30 — can be placed online through the school's rain barrel fundraising page. Anyone with questions about ordering or pickup can contact ShaKed Kaplan at [email protected] or 416-268-6604.