MISSISSAUGA, ON (March 5, 2020) – Saturday, March 7, is National Cereal Day and Kellogg Canada is once again shining a spotlight on the issue of childhood hunger. While many families start their weekends ready to take on extracurricular activities with a full tummy, the reality is nearly half (48 per cent) of low to middle income families in Canada are challenged to provide their children with at least one meal during the weekend, according to the recent Kellogg’s® Better Days Weekend Hunger Survey[i].
When you consider that nearly 30 per cent of these parents rely on breakfast and other food programs during the school year, it’s not surprising that weekends are especially difficult for struggling families. In fact, 69 per cent of parents surveyed agree that more support and increased access to school food programs, food banks and even weekend breakfast initiatives can all make a positive difference in filling the meal gap.
“Food insecurity remains a serious issue facing many Canadian families with 1 in 4 children at risk of not eating breakfast[ii]. A startling statistic that jumps to 1 in 2 children among indigenous communities,” says Judith Barry, Co-founder and Director, Impact & Sustainable Solutions, Breakfast Club of Canada. “This devastating reality deprives children not only of the weekend they deserve, but further reinforces the important role that school food programs play in addressing childhood hunger every day.”
“At Kellogg, we know how important it is to start every day off with a nutritious breakfast, but sadly thousands of children simply don’t have access to the food or programs they need to reach their potential,” says Tony Chow, President, Kellogg Canada Inc. “And, in a country as prosperous as Canada, it is quite frankly unacceptable. We must do more collectively to help fight childhood hunger in communities in need across Canada.”
Kellogg Canada is helping to make a difference with a donation of $150,000 to Breakfast Club of Canada (BCC) this National Cereal Day. The funds will help support breakfast programs in Canadian communities in need, including northern and indigenous communities, to improve access to food. This is in addition to the more than $3 million dollars and 30 million servings of cereal and snacks donated by Kellogg Canada to its national breakfast partners over the years. It’s all part of the Kellogg’s Better Days global philanthropic platform to create 3 billion Better Days for people around the world by 2030.
FOOD INSECURITY IS DEPRIVING CHILDREN OF THE WEEKEND THEY DESERVE
Parents should not have to decide between feeding their children or paying a household bill, but for many Canadian families that’s their reality. 52 per cent of families shared they worry about where their next meal will come from and often feel embarrassed, stressed, and worried about their family’s food security.
Additionally, a lack of access to food is not only linked with higher rates of self-reported poor health and chronic health conditions such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease, but also impacts children’s emotional and social experiences[iii]. Case in point, 36 per cent of parents surveyed said they avoid having their children’s friends over, and 57 per cent opt their children out of fun weekend activities such as sports and community events to be able to provide food for their family instead.
Behavioural, emotional and mental health problems are also more prevalent among children struggling with hunger. When meals are skipped, parents shared they also notice an overall negative response in their children, with 36 per cent reporting that their children experience decreased energy, 24 per cent show increased stress, and 11 per cent complain of nausea and headaches.
This National Cereal Day, Kellogg Canada and Breakfast Club of Canada are encouraging Canadians to join the conversation and help fight childhood hunger by sharing the Fight Childhood Hunger video infographic and using the hashtag #BetterDays on social media. Visit www.kelloggs.ca to learn more about the Kellogg’s Better Days initiative and www.breakfastclubcanada.org to find community food support in your area.
ABOUT BREAKFAST CLUB OF CANADA
Founded in 1994, Breakfast Club of Canada is a charitable organization that provides food, funding, equipment, training and support to school breakfast programs across the country. Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, the Club is dedicated to ensuring every child starts their day with a nutritious morning meal, in a safe and secure environment. Accredited by Imagine Canada as a trustworthy charity, Breakfast Club of Canada is present in 1,809 schools from coast to coast feeding over 243,500 children every school morning. To learn more visit breakfastclubcanada.org or find us on social media.
[i] ABOUT THE KELLOGG’S® BETTER DAYS WEEKEND HUNGER SURVEY: From February 18th to February 21st, 2020 an online survey was conducted among 502 Canadians who have children aged 5 to 18 and an annual household income of under $50,000. Respondents are members of the Angus Reid Forum. For comparison purposes only, the sample plan would carry a margin of error of +/- 4.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.
SOURCE Kellogg Canada Inc.
[ii] Based on studies, 1 in 4 Canadian students report they go to school on an empty stomach (Public Health Agency of Canada, 2015; BMC Public Health, 2014; WHO HBSC Study, 2012)
[iii] Tarraf, D., Dia, S. and Giroux, I. (2017). Immigration and Food Insecurity: The Canadian Experience.