Pepsi donations add up to big bucks for students at Tecumseh Public Schools
Every time a football fan in Indian Stadium purchases a Pepsi product soft drink from the concession stand he or she is making a contribution to the team that is playing on the field and the band that will be playing at half-time.The arrangement is one of the provisions of Tecumseh Public Schools’ contract with PepsiCo, the company that licenses bottlers to market such brands as Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Sierra Mist, (including all of the diet variations thereof) and Gatorade, all of which are available not only at the concession stand, but also in the halls of Tecumseh High School and Middle School.This is the second year of a five-year contract with the soft-drink giant and the profit sharing provision that is part of the contract has allowed the school to donate a total of $10,000 this year to the Indian Fan Club and the Tecumseh Band Boosters.“The first donations were made in February when we gave $3,500 each to the Fan Club and the Band Boosters,” said Supt. Mike McAran. “We wait until June to see how much we are able to make for the second donation so we’re sure we are able to cover all concession expenses. These checks are for $1,500 each.” A small amount is kept in the concession account to cover any incidental expenses such as parts for cooler repair, if needed.The Fan Club and Band Boosters are two venerable nonprofit organizations that are independent of the schools but which donate the time of members and the money raised through many projects to the school sports and music programs.The concession stand sells a lot of Pepsi products during games, but the sales come only when Indian teams play at home and the largest sales are during football games. Pete Ialacci, vice president of the Fan Club, said that his organization is hoping to realize an even larger paycheck for both the Fan Club and the Band Boosters as fans come to the understanding that part of the revenue from their soft drink purchases is returned to the organizations that they cheer for. That hope is dimmed, somewhat this fall season, as the Indian varsity football team will be playing only three home games in town, but sales at soccer and junior varsity competitions could offset potential losses from the small number of home football games. “Pepsi has been a good partner,” said Ialacci. “They gave us the coolers and they provide regular service for them.”Concessions are available for a wide variety of sports, including indoor sports and the Fan Club and Band Boosters staff the concession stand with volunteer help to make the sales. “These people put in a lot of work during all of the sports seasons,” said TPS Supt. Mike McAran of the Fan Club and Band Booster members who keep the coolers full of drinks and serve customers at the window. This year, the concession stand is under the direction of Angie Walch, of the Fan Club, who makes sure that there are plenty of beverages for thirsty fans. The vending machines in the high school, middle school, and administrative building do not depend on sports fan support, however. They are available to students at certain times of the day in both of the upper schools of the district. Soft drink vending machines are not available to elementary school students.Much of the heavy lifting for taking care of the game night staffing of the concession stands falls to the officers of the two organizations that received the benefits of the Pepsi profit sharing. The Fan Club is led by President Beth Hunt and Vice President Ialacci, while the Band Booster senior officers are President Deanne Oldeck and Vice President Janet McKowen.Not all of the beverages sold at games are Pepsi products, however. Tecumseh Busch’s grocery store donates bottled water that is a popular alternative to soft drinks, and although there is no contract with the local grocer, all revenue from those sales goes to fund student athletics and music programs. “Busch’s donates a lot to this community, not just to the schools,” said McAran. “They are a great supporter and a great store.”Counting the $1,500 donations that were given to the Fan Club and the Band Boosters Friday, each organization received a total of $5,000 that will be used to help Tecumseh students in the coming year.