Fundraiser Market Day Expands Its Direct Division

In more than 30 years, Market Day has helped raise more than $380 million for more than 5,500 schools nationwide through the sale of various food items. Now the Itasca, IL-based company has launched a spin-off business called Market Day Direct, which allows customers to shop via the Web or a 12-page catalog rather than as part of a school’s fundraising campaign. But even when customers buy from Market Day Direct, they can choose to have 5% of the purchase price donated to a participating school of their choice.

Market Day Direct isn’t a new spin-off so much as a revamped one. Originally called Market Day Direct Ship, the program started “two to three” years ago,” says Market Day marketing manager Michelle Lascari and sold only 10 items. “Originally it was only offered from September through December and intended for holiday gift-giving.”

But in late October, Market Day Direct “relaunched with a brand-new Website and a more expanded product offering,” Lascari says. “Now we offer more than 40 food items, and they’re available year-round. Our top-selling item is our ChicNSteakes, individually wrapped boneless chicken breasts… It’s kind of neat because we offer holiday gifts like fruit baskets or chocolates and everything from appetizers through desserts, all in one basket direct to your door.”

There’s no shortage of food gift catalogs, of course. But Lascari believes that Market Day’s affiliation with schools and the ability of customers to earmark proceeds from their order to a specific school “sets us apart. Built into our core belief is giving back to the community and giving back to education. People can feel good if they’re sending a gift because they’re sending a gift and helping a school at the same time.”

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