Forget Tablets ... How About Some Tables for Students?

Lu Sutton Elementary is trying to raise money to buy lunch tables.

Although not on par with buying a cow or another animal to help those in Third World countries, donating funds so Lu Sutton Elementary students can eat lunch at tables like kids at all the other Novato public schools do is similar.

If you were to give, you would be making more than just a one-time difference. You’d be making a difference every day.

The kids at Lu Sutton don’t have lunch tables. They sit on benches and hold their lunches on their laps. You know how easy it is when you’re 5 or 6 or 7 years old to upend your lunch off your lap? Do you think at any age you’d do particularly well with balancing your lunch on your lap, eating and trying to avoid the little “surprises” that circling crows from above drop onto you? That sounds more like a P.E. activity obstacle course than a lunch, right?

You can donate a little or you can donate a lot. Donate through Monday, Oct. 29, by buying a raffle ticket (or two or 10), and enter to win a Kindle Fire donated by NAPA Auto Parts. Underwrite the $1,000 cost of one of the tables, and you’ll not only get the satisfaction of knowing you’re making a difference every single school day, but you’ll also get an engraved plaque with your name or business name on the table.

You can email Nicole Choi for more information.

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janna nikkola October 29, 2012 at 06:43 PM
This has nothing about people not wanting "to do anything good". It's about money. Every institution wants more and more money from us. Now that I'm retired, I've grown tired of all the requests and demands for higher taxes, more donations and being solicited for donations every time I go through the grocery store checkout line. I no longer have a child in school. I've already reared her, sent her to college, helped her buy her first home, so my child rearing is done, but I still contribute to Novato schools through payment of my property taxes where there's a special line item for school bonds. If I gave to every organization that asked for money, there'd be no money left to live on. If you have a child at Lu Sutton, picnic tables may be a priority for you but my priorities are elsewhere. But I still think $1,000 is too much to pay for a picnic table.
janna nikkola October 29, 2012 at 06:49 PM
So the logic is: Unless the community chips in to pay for these $1,000 picnic tables, students at Lu Sutton will either have to pick up and eat their lunches that have fallen on the ground or will be insufficiently nourished and will not have the energy to learn. Is there a PTA at Lu Sutton? When my daughter attended Loma Verde Elementary school, we had a very strong PTA that chipped in to buy extra supplies and even computers for our children. I guess parents of Lu Sutton students feel the community should pay for the extras, rather than the parents of the students.
Carrie Criswell October 29, 2012 at 07:01 PM
While I get donor fatigue, I don't see anything wrong with a group reaching beyond their school community to see if anyone is interested in helping out. Just like all the School Fuel, Dine and Donates, etc. that I see on the Patch. This is certainly not a requirement, like property tax, so if one chooses not to participate, so be it. Certainly there's no harm in asking so I hope others won't be deterred by the comments on this thread! As for me, I will be contacting Nicole and buying a ticket, even though I don't have a child at Lu Sutton--because I could really use a Kindle Fire! I didn't get from this article that they are expecting the community to pay for the tables, just giving the community a chance to participate if they want to.
Nicole Choi October 29, 2012 at 07:07 PM
I don't have time for too many comments. But I will throw in a quick one.. in most cases of fundraising in schools.. moneys generally come"through" the PTA efforts, that include fudraisers within the schools and from donations outside their schools. Even in the case of school auctions most items donated come from generous donors within our communities.
Patty Maher October 29, 2012 at 07:11 PM
I think it should go without saying that having a table at which to eat lunch should be a given, not an extra. You clearly disagree. I think asking folks who might have extra to donate to think about donating to this cause -- voluntarily -- isn't saying they "should." You clearly disagree. I write articles about fundraisers the schools do -- like the lap-a-thon coming up at Loma Verde -- to make it easy for people who want to give to do so.
Dennis Cooper October 29, 2012 at 07:52 PM
I also went to elementary school in Novato. This wasn’t a problem when we went to school because we ate in the “multi-purpose” room. These days the school district doesn’t have money for enough staff to put away the tables and get the room re-set in time for the other “multi-purposes”, so the kids have to eat outside. It’s the same at the other elementary schools in town and school by school parents have raised funds to build a covered eating area. Now it’s Lu Sutton’s turn. No precious tax dollars being used, no money coming from anybody that doesn’t want to contribute. As for the $1000 tables, while the district will not fund covered eating areas, they do dictate what equipment/materials are required to be used. Each of our school communities (or sports communities, or church communities, etc) is just a subset of our Novato community as a whole. Thanks to everybody in town (and beyond) that has bought a raffle ticket or contributed in some other way.
Craig Belfor October 29, 2012 at 07:53 PM
The pot calling the kettle black aside, I like Ella's comment, so as to not join her club, I'll offer a solution with my comment: Let the tables get sponsored. We sell ballpark names, so why not tables? Let private business chip in for the ad space. I'm sure Red Bull, Hostess, Hershey's, and other junk food companies would jump at the chance, but how about memorial tables like benches? Maybe local businesses could get some recognition. While they're at it, throw in a few pencils so junior can catch up on homework while washing down the Twinkies with Red Bull. Sorry- that would mean a need for teachers, that group on the same endangered list as dolphins and condors.
Molly Brown October 29, 2012 at 07:58 PM
I agree--it's not a requirement and people can choose to participate or not. My kids don't go to this school but if I were there I'd be out there trying to raise money for tables. I'm happy to buy a ticket! Carrie--You are always seem like one of the first to offer to help out or support all the schools. I hope you win :)
Patty Maher October 29, 2012 at 08:05 PM
Hey, Craig, I bet a nice plaque with a local moving company's name would look good, don't you think?
Amy Oclassen October 29, 2012 at 08:09 PM
I am sorry, Nicole, that you are having to respond to such harsh backlash to your attempt to address a legitimate need at your school. I am scratching my head over the fact that the district spent upward of a million dollars two years ago to replace the play structures at every elementary school, whether they needed it or not (ours at Rancho were only seven years old and had been purchased through PTA) yet they seem to have overlooked this most basic essential. I am sure there are many of us in the community more than willing to help out. Ignore the haters (believe me, some of us have lots of practice at that!)
Starling Sapphire October 29, 2012 at 08:12 PM
Great idea. Will Belfor Moving sponsor the first table?
Craig Belfor October 29, 2012 at 09:36 PM
I'll be proud to sponsor a table. National Van Lines is the second oldest van line in the country (Bekins is the oldest), a sponsor of the Wyland foundation, Special Olympics, and other various charities. We are owned by the grandaughter of the founder, and as the highest rated van line by the GSA for the last 13 years, (based on on time delivery, claims, and customer survey), the table will be a good reminder of business supporting schools. I'll get National Van Lines to give me a decal of the Wyland Whale that covers many of our trucks. I've been working with National since 1968, and have been a prime agent for them since 1981, and as a regular entry in the top ten list of booking agents nationally, I can afford it. Anyone else?
Kathleen October 29, 2012 at 09:47 PM
I am completely confused. My son went to Lu Sutton all six years and loved eating with his friends on the benches or the cement planter surrounds. When it is raining there are perfectly good tables in the multi. Am I missing something?
Nicole Choi October 29, 2012 at 10:50 PM
Craig, that would be lovely! We would be proud to have your company name on one of our tables. You can email me directly at nicolekchoi@yahoo.com and we can walk you through the motions. Thank you!
Nicole Choi October 29, 2012 at 11:02 PM
Kathleen, I wish the multi purpose room was an option. It is a great idea in theory. Due to cutbacks in funding staff has been trimmed over last number of years. Now there is not enough custodial services to put out and clean up tables. Because of the number of children now at Lu Sutton kids eat in three shifts. There is not enough man power to clean tables between shifts and even more difficult is that the small multipurpose room is the only place to hold P. E. during rainy wet season. So, if it were possible to clean tables for three shifts or diners it would still be robbing P. E time . Three years ago the parents got together and tried to make it work. But it required moving and folding of very heavy tables and a large handful parents time through the mid part of the day, every day. I was not part of this process at the time as my kids were in Kindergarten.. but I understand it was a really difficult process. Mostly, to clean and remove all tables after last lunch so as to get the room open to P. E. Parents finally gave up. I get it sadly, even though I spend a number of hours a week volunteering in school it would be very difficult for me to say I could be there every rainy lunch day for several hours, which is why I think this idea was eventually abondoned. n
Mary Contreras October 30, 2012 at 12:14 AM
This fundraiser is a Lu Sutton PTA sponsored event, called "Fund A Need". The children of Lu Sutton need an appropriate place to eat their lunch, and the parents and PTA of our school are working together to raise the money, much like other schools in our district. We brainstormed different ideas on how to raise money because our entire school district is saturated with other fundraising needs and programs. At a raffle earlier this month, someone asked if he could just buy our school a whole table. We were thrilled that somebody would be so generous. That is how the idea to sponsor an entire table was created. We are not trying to leach the public of their money. Our only motivation here is to do what is best for our children in our school. Thank you to those who support our efforts.
Kathleen October 30, 2012 at 03:41 AM
Okay now that I'm home from work I asked my son if he would have sat at tables outside and he said no. I'm not trying to cause trouble I just want to know if the kids really want them. If the tables are not available in the multi on a rainy day where do the kids eat on a rainy day?
Craig Belfor October 30, 2012 at 04:00 AM
I'm still good for a table. I'll bet there are at least a few kids who'd sit at one. If the others don't care, then we'll need less. Meanwhile, where are the other local businesses that would do this?
JBW October 30, 2012 at 04:33 AM
I agree too. My child does not attend Lu Sutton. He is attending Olive. Every child deserves a table to eat their lunch. I don't mind giving a donation to Lu Sutton so that the kids can have somewhere to sit and eat. There is a shade structure at Olive with several sturdy tables.
LP October 30, 2012 at 04:53 AM
As a former yard supervisor, it is easier to watch and maintain order with tables then the benches. They tend to be less spread out and trash control is easier. Yes, they are costly, but schools order through companies that they have PO's with, and then the district will come out and put them together. Over the last five years I know Lynwood has boughr more, but even then there never seems to be enough. In Sonoma county schools have solar panels and the benches are placed underneath them, providing shade on hot days.
Tammy R October 30, 2012 at 01:26 PM
These poor kids dont have a place to sit and some parents want to open another school? The nusd has been making cuts and layoffs, so how does that make sense? That is like going to a weightwatchers convention and handing out cookies at the door! All kids should have the proper services before we consider spending money on a new school.
Nicole Choi October 30, 2012 at 03:05 PM
Craig, since you offered to sponsor a table I have two more tables sponored...one a wonderful family and one (is in the process of confirming) and is a local business and great community contributor. So, thanks for getting the ball rolling! If you email me directly, I will pass you a sponsorship form.
Novatan October 30, 2012 at 06:10 PM
From my experience in K-12 - The cool kids got to sit at the tables and the rest of us ate in the dirt. Just sayin'.
Lothrop Withington Jr. October 31, 2012 at 04:21 AM
It used to be they had prisoners make furniture for the schools. I know the library tables and chairs at some Marin schools was made by inmates at San Q. What ever happened to that? Or why don't the fathers get together and build them? Come on, no one builds anything anymore. Not that long ago, parents would build a whole playground
TAK November 06, 2012 at 12:29 AM
Hey Nicole - Hennessy Funds is very happy to sponsor a table for the kids at LuSutton! Tania
Craig Belfor November 06, 2012 at 01:58 AM
Looks like we're on a roll. I talked to National today and am hoping to get a whale decal for my table.
Patty Maher November 06, 2012 at 02:30 PM
Tania and Craig, thanks so much! Looking forward to going by to see that whale decal and Hennessy Funds' name on a couple of tables.
Nicole Choi November 07, 2012 at 10:42 PM
So, awesome to have both your companies jump in to help! Lu Sutton parents and children are very thankful. With both Hennessy Fund and Belfor Moving we are up to 10 tables (more than half way there)! This is what being part of a close knit community is about. This is the very reason why I love Novato. When in need the Novato Community shows up! Thank you again, my friends! Nicole
Patty Maher November 07, 2012 at 11:50 PM
Nicole, I can't tell you how happy I am that you are up to 10 tables already. But I am quite perturbed that I didn't win the raffle. :(
Nicole Choi November 09, 2012 at 09:42 PM
You crack me up Patty! In my perfect world you won the raffle!!


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