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From Old to New

Thanks to two football parents, a football helmet lamp fundraiser at East Chapel Hill High School in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, has provided the school football team with brand new helmets.

By Angie Sloan
Secretary, East Chapel Hill School Booster Club
Co-Organizer, Football Helmet Lamp Fundraiser
East Chapel High School
Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Our football team had old helmets. They needed new ones. Making helmet lamps out of our old football helmets to help raise money for new ones was the idea of our principal, Eileen Tully.

Another football parent, Margaret Moore, and I built them. We constructed 25 helmet lamps and have sold 22, raising $1,584 so far. The cost for parts per lamp was $28, and we sold them for $100, making a profit of $72 on each.

For an extra $5, parents and players can have them personalized with their team number. Our coach had extra numbers for the backs of the helmets so he gave us a set to use.

Payments are made by either check or cash. I designed a simple order form that has all of the pertinent information and the PDF is available online through our school web site. I usually deliver the lamps to the homes or work places of the customers.

The fundraiser has been well received. When people see the finished lamps, they are impressed. They look even better than what they saw in a picture online. It's gone great.

The toughest part of this project was the upfront work in figuring out how to construct the lamps for minimal cost. We had the wooden bases built for us by a local lumber company, which was cheaper than using Michael's or A.C. Moore. We bought lamp kits and shades from Texas Lamp Parts online at http://www.txlampparts.com. We then purchased other miscellaneous parts at Lowe's and Home Depot.

There was a good deal of trial and error to figure out how to secure the helmets to the bases, where the helmets should be drilled so they are straight on the base, and so forth. We also had to wire them. We finished them off with a spray paint. We started working on them last spring and had the first ones ready to sell about 4-6 weeks after we started.  

Here's a suggestion should you consider doing a similar fundraiser:
We found the best prices for lamp kits to be online. If you are fine with brass parts, you will have an easier time finding kits online. We wanted nickel because our team colors are black and silver and the brass didn't work for us. So our search was a little tougher. But we were lucky to find the ones we did online.

The best piece of advice I can give is to get someone to help you who knows about building things. That's what I did with Margaret. She's super handy. I started calling her Builder Marge. It was a good deal of work, but lots of fun, too.


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