SISTERS — ‘Fess up. When the kid next door rings your bell and asks you to buy a tub of cookie dough or a box of gummy worms for a school fundraiser, you fork over the 20 bucks, don’t you? You can’t say no, even though it’s junk and you really don’t want it. Those cherubic faces could sell you a box of rocks.
But does it make sense to tell our kids to eat healthy and then ask them to sell candy? Not to Buckboard Provisioning in Sisters, and they’re doing something about it. Owners Rob Corrigan and Merry Ann Moore, Harvard graduates and parents themselves, want to change fundraising, and they’ve developed a line of healthy-food products for kids to pitch. “We call our approach ‘educational fundraising for goodness’ sake,’” says Moore.
They sneak in a little history lesson, too. Each product is named after a person, place or event in American history (the current line centers on the American West) and includes a story designed to spark a child’s interest. For instance, the package of Pushmataha’s Pumpkin Bread mix relates the story of Pushmataha, a Choctaw Indian chief who played a pivotal role in negotiating Indian treaties. Moore researches and writes the stories for each product; her husband, Corrigan, handles the technical computer side of the business.
The company works with Oregon suppliers supporting sustainable agriculture, and many of the fruit spreads, jerky, coffee and tea are certified organic. Butte Creek Mill in Eagle Point developed the exclusive line of stone-ground, whole-wheat muffins, breads and cookies. Buckboard also partnered with companies such as Sweet Creek Foods in Elmira, Strand Tea in Sandy and Glory Bee Foods in Eugene.
Fundraising can be done online (each organization gets its own custom website), with the ability to reorder year-round. The two-person company helped eight Oregon schools and organizations raise money this fall, with plans to expand nationally. And they say the profit margin rivals big-name fundraising companies.
Buckboard’s goal: Never fear the sound of the doorbell again.
— Sharon Vail