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I got an email today from a parent in my son's K class for a party the kids will be hosting for their teacher. Part of the content was this:

I'm asking for volunteers for the following:

Cut-up Fruit (various types or multiple people could contribute to a small tray)

Cake (again thought few people could contribute to this)

In response, I replied

Happy to pool in for cake.

I meant that I wanted to pool in with other parents for cake. Did I convey it right? How can I say it in other ways?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

In American English, the most common phrase would be to chip in, as in I would be happy to chip in for a cake:

to give some money, esp. when several people are giving money to pay for something together

An alternative is to pitch in, though in my experience this connotes a contribution of labor rather than capital. Both chip in and pitch in can also mean to make a small (and perhaps unnecessary) comment, so don't be surprised if a request for others to chip in yields more quips than coins.

Speaking for myself, I would offer to go in on a cake casually, meaning to join or

to be involved in an activity that involves others

but which my peers and I often use in the sense of investing in or purchasing something together, like a pizza or a vacation condo.

More formally, I would offer to contribute towards a cake. That is, I don't intend to purchase the entire thing, in which case I would contribute a cake, but rather I want

to provide money or support to help another person, company, or organization to achieve its goal

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'Happy to chip in with a cake' would be quite acceptable in British English, though as a metaphor it's a little incongruous here. –  Edwin Ashworth Apr 1 at 16:41
    
+1 particularly for the distinction between "I'll chip in" (I'll contribute money or other "tangibles", and "I'll pitch in" (I'll contribute my own attention and efforts). –  FumbleFingers Apr 1 at 18:07
    
Almost, but not quite. Chip in on, go in on, etc. do not necessarily have to do with a purchase, which was part of the question. –  Drew Apr 2 at 2:28

I hear and use "happy to chip in" more often but given the context of your reply, I'm sure it would be understood - just not common usage, that I'm aware of.

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I hear pool used in your situation all the time. We will pool resources for each division for this operations project. The other parents should understand you.

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