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Q&A: Manchester Valley High School boosters find way to raise $20,000 for athletics

The athletic boosters at Manchester Valley High School managed to raise $20,000 during the pandemic for the school’s athletic department despite challenges due to the pandemic.

After the high school’s concession stand was chosen as a COVID-19 testing site for students, the team found creative ways to raise the money. The Times caught up with the president of the Manchester Valley athletic boosters, Todd Calhoun, to learn what the fundraising was like and how they did it.

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Adora Allen, a volunteer, serves a customer at the Manchester Valley Athletic Boosters' mobile concession stand at a football game.
Adora Allen, a volunteer, serves a customer at the Manchester Valley Athletic Boosters' mobile concession stand at a football game. (Todd Calhoun)

Q: What were the goals of Manchester Valley’s athletic boosters at the start of the school year?

A: The MV Athletic Boosters met throughout the summer last year, brainstorming ways to best support our student-athletes during the pandemic. We were in agreement early on that we were not willing to wait out the pandemic before we went to work. Showing a presence was a top priority, so we expanded our footprint on social media to ensure our student athletes, coaches, parents and the Hampstead/Manchester community knew we were working to ensure our athletes were being supported.

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Our goals were to focus on fundraisers that would allow us to maximize our revenue opportunities and we knew we were going to have to be creative to make that happen. “No, not this year” was not an option at our school. Goals included: getting concessions open when games started up again; expanding our spirit wear/apparel with a new expanded on-line store; create an on-line auction event and partner with other local events to take our fundraising opportunities out into the community beyond the school property. I am pleased to say that at some level we were able to accomplish all those goals.

Q: What were some of the adjustments the boosters had to make due to the pandemic?

A: We quickly learned with the changing times, that we needed a Plan A, B, C and sometimes D. Our group of dedicated parents spent many hours working through possible scenarios. An example of this was concessions. Initially when we finally got the green light for sports to take place, we deep cleaned and prepared our concession stand for health department inspection. Ironically enough, later that same day, we received word that all high school concession stands were being closed with several to be used as COVID testing sites — ours was one of those selected. We switched gears and outfitted a loaned enclosed trailer creating what would be our mobile concession stand. We used this at not only the fall and spring sporting events at the school, but took our concessions and apparel sales on the road to several other events in and around our community.

Q: Can you describe how the boosters were able to raise $20,000 despite the adjustments?

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A: Our boosters were creative, committed and flexible when it came to fundraising this year. The mobile concessions idea for both the sporting events at the school and off-site events was a hit and clearly our largest fundraiser. A presence at local events like the recent Hampstead Day gave us new opportunities to generate income for the Boosters that we have not seen before. The expanded online spirit wear/apparel store allowed us to reach not only students but community members that wanted to support our school. And lastly, we had a very successful first time on-line auction showcasing filled baskets donated by local businesses and our various sports teams.

Q: Who all were involved in this fundraising effort?

A: We would not have been able to be successful in any of our fundraising efforts had it not been for the support of the community, our local businesses and the other civic organizations that we partnered with over the last year. Our success as a boosters club during this pandemic was very much a team effort. It was not just one or two parents doing all the work, but a dedicated team who could be counted on to be flexible and willing to make it work. We even expanded in the spring season and reached out to some of our middle school and high school students, training them to work in the mobile concession stand. By doing this they were able to earn service hours, fill a need we had for addition manpower and hopefully have an opportunity to become stronger student leaders.

Q: What will the athletic program do with the $20,000?

A: The money raised will go towards facility improvements, updating uniforms and athletic equipment supplies for our various sports programs.

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