I Weep for My City (Banning Homemade Goods At Bake Sales)

Because, as we all know, the lack of funds for library books and gym equipment doesn’t kill kids, homemade cupcakes do. Nothing like a micromanaged snack. Check this out. And bartender? Make it another milk. Straight up, no cookies. — Lenore

P.S. My husband says we can’t call it a bake sale anymore either. How about a Fake Sale? The Deli in the Gym? Or maybe Processed Food Sale. That’ll bring ’em galumphing.

72 Responses

  1. Okay, I’m all for combating the obesity problem in this country – and pushing for much more healthy school lunches – but I’ll assume that no school has a bake sale EVERY DAY. An occasional cupcake and brownie is not the cause of the obesity problem in America. Heck, even a daily cupcake or brownie isn’t going to make you obese if you stick to one and otherwise eat healthy. The more we get bogged down in stupid stuff like banning the occasional bake sale, the harder it will be to get people motivated to make real life changes that could actually make them healthier.

  2. Schools in my neck of the woods have banned homemade treats from schools for a while now. Anything that comes to school has to be made in a professional kitchen by somebody with a foodhandler’s card. It’s absurd.

    More crazy to me is the idea that if you want to bring in a treat for a birthday or other celebration, not only does it have to be store-bought (which to me = gross), but you have to also provide a healthful alternative…which sounds nice on the surface, but is really just a waste of food – no kid is going for the carrot sticks or melon slices when there’s a cupcake drowning in frosting on offer!

  3. Big Brother. Oh, brother!

  4. We know how safe processed food, eh?

    What about the love that imbues homebaked goods, can that be bought?

    Very sad, the level of fear and anxiety that is being imposed on innocent bystanders.

    May all our children come to their senses and find common sense in all aspects of life.

  5. God forbid they use these bake sales to encourage the kids to learn how to make healthy alternatives to the full-fat originals.

    For example, many oils can be replaced by applesauce, cutting fat content WAY down. Additions of ground flaxseed adds Omega 3 fatty acid (a GOOD fat); additions of fruit (raspberries to brownies, raisins to cookies) and chopped veggies to certain dishes add interest, as well as nutrition.

    But no. Common Sense was the first thing that was banned in this ridiculous “educational” system.

  6. Geez! Are the Doritos, etc. bought from one central location? Is the money going to someone other than the school? I always suspect ulterior motives when a bureaucracy outlaws something benign in order to save us.

  7. Since when are pop tarts a more healthful alternative than zucchini bread? Or Doritos?

    When I was in K-12, there was at least one kid per year whose mother or father had a heart attack, got Type II diabetes, joined Jenny Craig or whathaveyou. The parents would usually blanket ban all “unhealthy food” in their houses. Know what happened? Those kids went to friend’s houses or birthday parties or girl scout meetings and SICKED themselves on KFC, pizza, cookies, candy ect.

    While bake sales certainly aren’t pushing “healthy” food, they’re also highly controlled. A kid’s gotta have money to buy a cupcake or brownie, and they can only buy it during the designated time. You don’t generally see a third grader rolling up with a wad of bills cleaning out the snickerdoodle supply.

    Isn’t it kind of foolhardy to label a food naughty? Isn’t there a way to teach your kid about enjoying foods responsibly, much like you would alcohol? Oh wait… never mind.

  8. My kids current school does not hold bake sales because it is too much of a hassle for the parents to gather 1 day for a few hours to raise money for the school programs. Instead the parents pay $100 or more per child to participate. But then there is the other headache where the school does not allow homemade items in the school least they be poisoned or contain allergies. And lastly you need to get through the state’s red tape where they have made it illegal for children to have any snack in school where the first ingrediant is sugar.

    So school parties have almost disappeared the ones that remain serve veggie/fruit platters arranged in a store and water. I tried to sneak a candy cane in the Holiday gift bag to be eaten later after school hours by the receprent and it was returned to my son and told put this away and remind Mommy no sugar snacks in school.

  9. As a mom that just sent in four dozen homemade from scratch cookies bars for a bake sale one of my daughters clubs was having this is sad. I know what is in my muffins, cookies and breads and I can take a well educated guess of what is in others homemade baked goods. I’d chose homemade goodies for my kid over prepacked mystery junk any day. The bake sales that sell homemade items sell ten time over the amount of those who sell the bags of chips, candy bars and store bought bake stuff.

    I suspect that somebodies pockets are being lined with this new rule, especially after seeing the crap that was on the approved list. Yeah cutting back on the muffins, fruit and veggie breads and brownies but bulking up on the chips and pop tarts is surely the way to help combat America obesity problem.

  10. Here’s the kicker: The Cool Ranch (Doritos) variety contains three food colorings — Red 4D, Blue 1 and Yellow 5 — and two laboratory-produced flavor enhancers — disodium inosinate and disodium guanylate. The criteria don’t ban these additives.

    SICK, SICK, SICK, SICK!!! I wonder if the fast food lobbyists are behind this…

  11. By the way, I forgot to add quotes and mention that the Cool Ranch sentence is straight from the NYT article. 🙂 Long day…

  12. Absolutely Absurd.

  13. I think that kid in the article had it correct:

    ““It’s unrealistic to say a young adult can’t make a decision about whether they can eat something,” said David Greenblatt, 18, a senior at the High School of American Studies at Lehman College. “Soon I’ll be in college, and I won’t have Mommy or Daddy or Chancellor Klein sitting right next to me saying, ‘Hey David, don’t eat that, its too high in calories.’””

    Let’s NOT teach kids how to eat properly before we send them off to college. Great idea, guys. Hats off to David here for speaking directly.

  14. but I’ll assume that no school has a bake sale EVERY DAY.

    You obviously didn’t go to my high school(s), nor yet my college.

    As far as what they allow, it sounds like they’re caving in to pressure by PTAs and lobbyists to allow most bake sales at all – the original proposal limited them to, I think, just two during the school year (with no restrictions on what was sold). In fact, reading this, it sounds like they’ve greatly increased the number of allowed bake sales (one a month by the PTA where you can sell ANYthing, including stuff you made at home) from their earlier proposal, as well as allowed for the sale of “stuff we already sell in the cafeteria” as “bake sales” run by students.

    I’ll agree that these rules are asinine, but they’re not quite as bad as it sounds.

    Besides, why ARE bake sales the be all and end all of fundraising? I know that in NYC we don’t go so much for bikini car washes, but why doesn’t anybody ever think outside of the cookie jar on these?

  15. Let me play the devil’s advocate here.

    Am I reading the article wrong, or does it say one day per month PTA can hold a bake sale with as many homemade cookies as it wants? There are no such rules in our school district but our PTA only sells baked goods a few times a year. The article seems to suggest that, at some schools, snacks are sold for fundraising almost every day at lunchtime, and many of them are unhealthy. And kids fill up on these unhealthy snacks instead of eating a much healthier (for the sake of the argument, let’s say it is much healthier) school lunch.

    If this is true, the lawmakers’ desire to limit the sale of cookies is understandable, even if the healthy snack criteria they have established are not without fault.

  16. Following Michael Pollan’s lead, let’s call them ‘Edible Food-like Substances Sales’.


  17. This is just plain sad. If you’re going to ban food for health reasons, at least make sure the rules are set up by experts. The idea that Doritos and Pop Tarts full of fat and sugar are allowed while freshly baked no-additive goods aren’t is preposterous.

    “We want students to eat well,” Ms. Grimm said. “We have meals served in the cafeteria that meet those standards, and we want our children to eat there.”

    Oh, I see, it’s not about health at all. You don’t want to lose any money to kids who refuse to eat your crappy cafeteria food. Don’t take over the parents’ job. They know perfectly well what is good for their kids.

  18. “The same goes for parent groups, except for an exception carved out for one no-brownies-barred Parent Teacher Association bake sale during the school day per month.”

    So it’s a ban on student sales of food every day, expressly NOT a ban of bake sales.

  19. That’s not a bake sale anymore, is it?

    When I was a kid of ten (admittedly not in America but in Ireland) we held a bake sale and bric-a-brac, selling homemade cakes and old toys and books we wanted to get rid of (since we had a pre-school attached, old toys were big sellers). That sale alone funded the best school trip I’ve ever had- we took a bus across the country, got on a ferry, and spent a week on one of the Aran Islands. No additional charge, everything came out of that sale. I could go on and on about the trip but the point is, it was so amazing, and quite expensive for the entire class, and we were so PROUD that an event we’d organised with second-hand objects and homemade cakes could be so successful.

    Taking the homemade baking out of a bake sale is taking all the fun, all the education, and all the pride out of it. Boo!

    Now, people point out that the article talks about something that is done every day, but if no homemade goods are allowed then why bother involving students in it in the first place? And instead of banning cookies, why not make a list of healthy approved cookies? Those do exist, you know.

  20. It’s good for kids to learn how to cook. Period. Even the occasional brownie. We do our kids a disservice when we teach them about processed foods like Doritos. I’ll take the occasional home made brownie along with home cooked meals long before I’ll stock up on Doritos.

    And why is it, that, it’s always the art/music/library that have to raise funds through bake sales? I’d like to see the math department jump in from time to time, too.

  21. I kept looking and looking but could find “The Onion” anywhere in that article. I must have missed it because that has to be satire.

    I pretty sure none of these people would get my vote the next time an election came up.

  22. I pretty sure none of these people would get my vote the next time an election came up.

    I think they’re appointed, actually.

  23. A few years ago, a hyperconcerned mom called the Health Department on our elementary school’s annual Taco Sale. The next year the teacher contracted with a local Mexican restaurant to make and deliver the taco fixings instead of having class parents cook at home and bring it in crockpots (as they had done for years). Half of all the customers got violently ill that night — turns out that instead of chilling the taco meat overnight, the restaurant kept the meat pans in a warming oven all night — perfect for incubating evil bacteria.

    We don’t have a taco sale anymore.

  24. Bake sales should be banned because they promote economic illiteracy.

    People pay out of pocket for the supplies, then donate their time to produce whatever’s going to be sold. The items are then sold at overly marked up prices to people who wouldn’t necessarily be looking to buy baked goods in the first place if they weren’t in front of them. They are then promoted as being a profitable enterprise that helps support various school programs.

    How about instead teaching the kids lessons about fundraising and soliciting donations? If some of the parents are willing to pay for supplies and take the time to cook, they should be willing to donate money equal to the value of the time and money the would otherwise put into the bake sale. The kids should learn to make their case for why this program is important not just to them, but to the community as a whole. It might be a bit more work for the kids, but it’s an incredibly valuable lesson.

  25. Why are they watching fat so closely. It’s a brownie.

    I’d prefer to see them ban anything that comes prepackaged in a box or bag… INCLUDING “dunkin hines.” Real brownies aren’t good for you, but at least it’s not a bag of doritos.

    These are simple to make (use the microwave for step 2):

  26. Oh, and my son’s school has a book sale as its big family-friendly fundraiser every year. The publishers send thousands of new books, and the school only has to pay them (at a substantial discount) for the books that they don’t ship back a week later. The school opens up on a Sunday, and people buy huge amounts. There’s also a place for parents to deposit books that they buy at the sale for a classroom or the library, with each class and the library posting wish lists of books.

    So in addition to the school raising over $25,000 on the event every year after paying the publishers, the classrooms and library get some new books, and the families that participate end up with new books in their homes — which are better for kids than even the healthiest of baked goods. And no bake sale will raise that kind of money.

  27. Our elementary school used to have one bake sale a year, always just before Halloween so the items donated were usually themed towards the holiday. We would be able to raise over $700 and nothing was ever priced more than 50 cents. But the best part was watching the kids faces when they saw the witches hats, skeleten cookies, Frankenstein rice crispie bars, etc. It was truly fun for them. Unfortunately that gave way to a “Healthy Snack Sale” that finally got cancelled due to lack of interest.

    JMP – I’m sorry, but I really don’t want a 6 year old pleading for money. How about teaching them that a few dollars worth of ingredients and an hours time can be parlayed into even more money? Why isn’t that a worthy lesson?

  28. Our school district has long banned homemade baked goods because they’re not considered “safe” unless made in a commercial kitchen. Having worked in a couple of commercial kitchens, I’d much rather take my chances on the cleanliness of a home kitchen, and I prefer ingredients like butter and flour instead of chemicals and rat hair.

  29. My school also did the book fair. One year they had something where kids would bring in/donate their old books and the book fair was stocked with tons of used books. It was a lot of fun.

    The picture accompanying the article makes me laugh. “Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies”? I’ve certainly never seen THAT one at a bake sale!

  30. I just want the recipe for the Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies.

  31. They banned the wrong stuff. Clearly it would be far more effective, and healthier for our children’s bodies and minds, to simply ban public schooling.

  32. So let me get it right… the homemade cookies made with REAL sugar, butter, eggs .etc… are banned but Pop-Tarts that have ingridience that I cannot even pronounce are o.k.?
    Wow, this is a sad day indeed!!!

  33. I didn’t get to go to the link when I first saw the blog post, and my first thought was – well, kids are getting too much sugar and junk at school. But the idea that Doritios are okay and homemade cupcakes aren’t is ridiculous.

    Sadly, though, it stems from a desire to do something. I work in this area and kids do get too much junk in and around school. At my son’s school, I feel like there is some sort of sweet thing – cake, cupcake, cinnamon rolls – every other week, and that’s on top of the candy used for rewards and the junk snacks they provide at aftercare. Don’t get me started on the stuff the parents sell at games for fundraisers (Airheads, juiceless juice drinks, and more junk candy). We’ve made the junk acceptable, while making fruit and veggies weird. Instead of junky candy being a real treat – it’s a daily or at least weekly thing.

    Sorry, I’m ranting off in another direction. I agree the NYC ruling is crazy.

  34. Old news, at least to those of us on the Left Coast. The MeMe Roths of the world and the ever expanding bureaucracy have a huge drive to control the rest of us.

    Having worked my way through college in part in commercial kitchens, I see little gained in rules that require food to be done in those kitchens. And while I’m not one to obsess over some of the artificial flavorings and preservatives, stuff made without does taste better.

    Generally, our public schools are in the forefront of demanding that we all live by an increasingly complex web of rules, adopted with little justification. All this accomplishes little.

  35. To me, the bigger problem is the fact that schools need to have fundraisers at all. I understand certain extracurricular activities often require extra $$, but when we’re having to raise funds for language and art and music programs (as we constantly do at my daughter’s public elementary school) it’s really troublesome.

    -The Well-Versed Mom


  36. “The city’s new vending operator, The Answer Group, will also negotiate with vendors to produce fund-raising kits for students, probably by next September, said the group’s president, Tom Murn.”

    Part of the problem is their concern over food not made in a certified kitchen (liability)…but it’s also a case where you should follow the money….

  37. Oh, my GAWD, that’s crap!

    I love this quote: “We want students to eat well,” Ms. Grimm said. “We have meals served in the cafeteria that meet those standards, and we want our children to eat there.”

    Yes, because institutional processed food is held to such a high standard that home made food could never surpass it! Like ammonia in ground beef filler served in school cafeterias: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/31/us/31meat.html Yeah, I put household cleaners in my kid’s food all the time!

    Rawwrr! Bloody ‘ell.

  38. “Anything that comes to school has to be made in a professional kitchen by somebody with a foodhandler’s card. It’s absurd. ”

    Yes, since having a foodhandler’s card and inspected surfaces means the food won’t contain any allergens, unhealthful additives, or excessive amounts of fat or sugar. Just like at Hostess.


  39. “If some of the parents are willing to pay for supplies and take the time to cook, they should be willing to donate money equal to the value of the time and money the would otherwise put into the bake sale.”

    Nope. I can’t afford to “donate money equal to my time,” since I don’t earn money for my time. It would all have to come from somewhere else. Some flour and butter and sugar and eggs, I can afford. Besides, it doesn’t “promote economic illiteracy” if you simply explain to kids 1) that the goods and services are donated, 2) that a premium is being charged because the customers (should) understand that they’re paying a premium for a charitable cause and 3) that they need to make economic decisions about buying bake sale food like everything else. That’s not hard, and it doesn’t promote economic illiteracy — it provides an opportunity to teach. It doesn’t promote economic illiteracy any more than a charity auction with donated or discounted offerings does.

  40. JMP – not just a lesson in economics. It’s not just about why not donate the money one would spend? It’s about giving of oneself. Volunteering your time. Donating money is the easy way out. It requires no time, no thought, no planning. Wrote a check, did my part. It’s at least partly about becoming an involved member of your society, starting as a young kid, and in this case, as a young adult. Society is always on about how youth don’t participate. Youth suffer from entitlement expectations. I teach college. They sure as hell do. If you’ve got a bunch of 15-18 year olds who WANT to spend their time cooking and staffing a table, volunteering perhaps proceeds from a part-time job for supplies, time spend cooking/baking, and time spend at the table talking to others rather than texting or on iPods, why on earth would we want to discourage that? They are taking on the responsibility to fund their own activities in a way that is participatory for them. And we say, no, sorry. You’re not smart enough about food to do that. Just go play your video games, honey. Let the grownups buy you Doritos to resell.

  41. @ JMP I agree with you wholeheartedly, and I love the concept of a book sale for fundraising!

    I think this ban is just another example of city officials believing that the average person is too stupid to make an important decisions for themselves. Ugh!

  42. I would not participate if the only alternative was to buy something I would not otherwise feed my own kids.

  43. I do think they overdo sweets & treats at school nowadays. It may be “OK” for most kids, but some kids are more affected and can’t really be expected to say “no thanks” before a certain age. I have a couple of kids like that.

    If I’m called upon to provide something for the school, unless it’s a specific item planned by the teacher to round out a meal, I will provide a non-food item. I order stuff from Oriental Trading Company and it’s pretty cost-effective. I think the kids like the semi-durable stuff at least as much as food. I wouldn’t mind if that became a trend.

    Of course, if I actually knew how to bake something semi-healthy, I might act differently.

  44. I guess they didn’t read the Michael Pollan food rule that you can eat as much junk food if you can eat it yourself!http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/10/11/magazine/20091011-foodrules.html

  45. I think it’s really funny that they specify all the items must be single servings, especially since for Pop-tarts, a single serving is one, and they all come in two packs. And for those who want to try it, here’s a bacon cookie recipe:

  46. That’s ridiculous! The occasional treat, especially when homemade is not a cause of childhood obesity.

    As for bake sale vs. book sale, the elementary school my daughter was at last year did both. I’ve always given the kids more freedom at book sales, but I really don’t mind either type.

  47. Well-versed Mom – you have got it right!

  48. The worst thing is those guidelines let a WHOLE LOT of extremely unhealthy foods in while banning the really great “treats” that are an occasional indulgence. So, they’re telling kids that Doritos and Pop Tarts are “healthy” but brownies are to be avoided?!?!?!?! YIKES!!!

    We don’t eat processed stuff like Doritos in our house, and only complex carbs which means [ahem] at least 3 grams of fiber per serving…not 2. But, we indulge in the occasional cookie or brownie.

    Their guidelines are false, especially because it’s the same crappy, unhealthy food they’ve always served in the cafeteria – just with smaller portions. There is not a public school district on earth that actually serves healthy food.

  49. My amazement is not at thebanning of homebaked goods but at parents for observing the ban. Hey people, the republic is US! Even Sophocles taught us that if a law is unjust, it is the obligation of the moral to break it.

    The schools down here in Alabama tried that stuff too but the parents just ignored it. We still brought homemade brownies and cakes to school parties regardless. Our attitude was “Do something to us – please. Then see who will run the PTA meetings, who will volunteer to paint the classrooms when the funds run low, who will host black tie affairs to buy the schools new computers, who will collect receipts and boxtops so ya’ll can get corporate funding.”

    We have power. Don’t just shake your heads and go, “Tsk, tsk.”

  50. They are allowing Pop Tarts but not zucchini bread?

    It shows how insane and illogical the Nanny State can be.

  51. It’s not The Nanny State, Jan. They’re using this as their excuse, but it’s clearly about protecting big business. How liberal is that?

  52. I am absolutely going to try the bacon chocolate chip cookies. And eat several spoonfuls of the raw dough 🙂

  53. Just have a bake sale after school hours… It only says you can’t have one until 6pm…

  54. I am NOT that old (graduated from high school in a decade beginning with a 199X), but I distinctly remember my high school Spanish teacher making a giant paella for the whole class my senior year. It was wonderful: we got to talk about the culture and the food while eating something delicious.

    If she hasn’t retired, that teacher has probably been fired for trying to poison children with healthy food and teaching that goes beyond a lectern.

  55. SKL — “It may be “OK” for most kids, but some kids are more affected and can’t really be expected to say “no thanks” before a certain age. I have a couple of kids like that.”

    Yeah, if the bake sales are targeted at kids in school, and the kindergartners are allowed to march up there and buy stuff, that’s a problem. But that’s handled by 1) setting up the bake sales so they don’t target primarily the kids IN school (like having it before or after school so parents can stop by when picking up or dropping off kids, or on a Saturday in a public place so the community can patronize it) and 2) making a rule that kids below a certain age (3rd grade, maybe?) can’t independently buy stuff.

    Problem solved. Much more effectively than by banning a particular process for making food that has nothing to do with whether the food will be safe or healthy.

  56. I learned more about math and fractions from baking than any textbook or worksheet.

  57. Coincidence that the deputy chancellor for infrastructure and portfolio planning has the last name “Grimm”? I think not.

    And just what in the world does infrastructure and portfolio planning have to do with bake sales? Are they building school district portfolios based on bake sales?

    I started to opt out of all these sales, and just donate cash. It’s easier, cheaper in the long run, and I don’t have to put up with any guff. The powers that be are making us indifferent.

  58. What a great quote. Maybe kids should stay outside and ride their bikes then climb into cars.

  59. Bring back the bake sales and recess. If kids had some free time and could walk and ride bikes to school what they ate at a bake sale would be less of an issue.

  60. Am I really the only parent of a food-allergic child who reads this blog?
    If food is purchased we can read the labels to see if it is safe for our children to eat.

  61. I’m sorry, by “our” I mean our food allergic children. How many home cooks bother to put labels on what they make?

  62. Meh, I’ll still pack homemade baked goods in my kids’ lunches. If they “expel” them, I will homeschool or go to a different school. Sorry, not into the big brother thing.

  63. Susan, first of all, when you buy packaged foods in bulk, the individual packages usually don’t have the nutritional info on them. Secondly, if your child needs to eat packaged and labaled foods, how does that translate into every child needing to do so? I could see having an offering of packaged, labeled food on hand for those who do need this (maybe), but I can’t see requiring that every food on the table be store-bought. If they don’t have something you are wiling to buy – for whatever reason – simply don’t buy anything. Vote with your pocketbook, and maybe put a note in the idea box for next time. And if you know there is a bake sale coming up, either provide an option your child can safely buy, or send him with an individual treat, if you don’t want him to feel left out.

  64. We have those ‘health’ mandates in place — how people get around it is to have bake sales after school. Based on what I observed at one, I think a few of the treats being sold were homemade; if not, they were pretty convincing for non-homemade items!

    Despite the so-called ‘healthy eating’ mandates, it’s not really being enforced. My daughter came home with Valentines, most of them containing candy, which were given during school hours.

    With regard to a few of the comments: kids DO eat fruit. The presentation is what counts. For my daughter’s bday, I sent in ‘fruit kabobs’ (skewered berries/melons) and they were quite the hit. In fact, my daughter’s teacher said that some of the kids had never had certain fruits before, something I find a bit hard to believe…or maybe not.

    The only other reason I think schools are big on commercially baked items is due to mischievous tampering incidents. Way back in the late 70s when I attended high school, preboxed items from Entemann’s were sold in favor of items made from scratch. Apparently there were two incidents, one involving “hash brownies,” and another in which Ex-Lax supposedly was used in place of chocolate, that led to this.

  65. A missed opportunity for students to learn something, I’d say.

    Classes could do research, look up recipes for healthy versions of their favorites, making sure the nutritional information is listed with the instructions.

  66. Hi – thanks for the post. I never know what I will come across when I scroll these blogs. But just wanted to let you know I really liked yours. Keep it up.


  67. great article thank you

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  68. Susan: Then the school could make it required that the parents provide a recipe card

  69. “The same goes for parent groups, except for an exception carved out for one no-brownies-barred Parent Teacher Association bake sale during the school day per month.”

    So it’s a ban on student sales of food every day, expressly NOT a ban of bake sales.

  70. O beautiful for spacious skies,
    For amber waves of grain;
    For purple mountain majesties
    Above the fruited plain!
    America! America!
    God shed His grace on thee,
    And crown thy good with brotherhood,
    From sea to shining sea.

    O beautiful for heroes proved
    In liberating strife,
    Who more than self their country loved,
    And mercy more than life!
    America! America!
    May God thy gold refine,
    Till all success be nobleness,
    And every gain divine.

    O beautiful for patriot dream
    That sees beyond the years
    Thine alabaster cities gleam,
    Undimmed by human tears!
    America! America!
    God mend thine every flaw,
    Confirm thy soul in self control,
    Thy liberty in law.

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