I have been engaged in putting together a Pasta Dinner Fundraiser for my daughters swim team.
The short version is they are a 501c3 youth competitive swimming organization. We are sanctioned by USA Swimming and have been around for almost 55 years. We have sent swimmers or I should say A swimmer as in 1, to the Olympics....Whitney Hedgepeth. She swam in the 1988 games and returned to the 1996 games where she won 2 Silver and 1 Gold Olympic medals. The program has been being Rebuilt for the last 5 years so our ranks are small.....about 75 swimmers. This is in comparison to two other teams that have over 700 swimmers each. Our team is the only option with-in 30-40 miles for some of our families to travel too...so there is an importance to keeping it around. It's not reasonable for kids to have to spend hours in the car and have no time to do homework, assignments or even be a kid so why drive that 50 miles one way practice for 2 hours and then have to drive home. School, bed and practice is no life nor is it quality family living or something that is very important to each and every one of our Organization's Members
Anyhow I have been trying to use some of my old restaurant contacts in the food service industry to solicit donations or cost assistance for food and supplies. This has been a horribly tedious effort and has only yielded one donation of food and that was from Barilla Pasta. They donated 100 or the 300lbs of past we will be needing.
I have received some cost help from US Foodservice but not much more than a take it or leave it approach. This is fine and while I would have liked to give all of the purchase to one vendor as well as been graciously provided a couple donations or better prices, I will now divide it amongst the best prices with no donations. This has me buying from Sam's, US Foods and Sysco. I have hit local Groceries and the like (wal-mart,Martin's, Target, Kroger, etc...) and so far, Martin's is the only to come through with a 50.00 gift card and a bundle of 300 paper bags for to-go food we sell. Kroger's effort or lack there of was even more insulting that the topic.
My issue is with the three organizations that have refused outright to sell to us. This would be Pepsi, Coca Cola and of course Sysco.
These three companies have outright refused or implied they would refuse to sell to us. Coca Cola will not sell to any company that does not have a fixed address. We have a P.O. Box but because of our Club size, we cannot afford a multimillion dollar swim facility to take deliveries. I did have some of our members offer to use their business addresses but Coke said if it was not where the product was going to be sold they would not deliver either.
Pepsi based their denial on the fact that it was a one-time purchase. I tried to explain that this was our first attempt with this type of Fund Raiser as an Organization but if it was a success it could be one of many. They explained that if we could not accept a weekly delivery and allow our sales man to build a relationship, we will not sell. Pepsi does have a Donation process and one that I am actively pursuing but it has been a month with no decision. I believe we didn't even qualify for that. So.......on to Sysco.
This one really gets me. Sorry for beating the dead horse BDL but I saw it move last night and that means it ain't dead yet!
Sysco sent me a Rep. We talked about things, gave him my specs, he provided a purchase application and we went from there. We filled out the Application and I went to submit it this week and this is what I was told. By the way we did not apply for credit, something that as a 501c3 we did not want. We just wanted the ability to purchase food at a wholesale cost so we could maximize of donations for events like the Pasta Dinner. We also found ourselves doing a 1000 ticket meal because of the costs and what our Donation Goal is....that would be 7000.00 for this event. Mind you this is our quarterly operating budget too and if we fall short, something we are still in the hole from last season, we are in trouble!
Anyhow, I was told that in order to buy from Sysco we needed to file for credit even thought we are C.O.D. I even offered to pay for the order. I have to file for credit even if I provided cash to the driver as payment.
Now for the fun part and for any of you Lawyers out there........
How can any business require you to have credit in order to purchase from them and then can only purchase C.O.D.???? If I have to qualify for credit every time I went to the grocery store, we'd be dead from starvation. So....because we have to qualify for credit as a small youth organization and 501c3 just to purchase food for our Fundraiser, we will be financially starved as an Organization. Just try and feed 1000 people on what it costs by buying everything from a store like Kroger, Martin's, Ralph's, Basha's or whatever.
It is my public opinion that these companies are doing nothing short of Financial Discrimination. Hey BDL....now I'm not thinking like a Chef huh?!?! By the way....luv ya like a brother big guy....it's to bad I hate my family.