On Wednesday 14 January, over 12 million learners headed back to school after the long summer break, but started their day on empty stomachs: nearly one-fifth of South African children are not eating breakfast before going to school. To help address this need, Kellogg is launching a large-scale Breakfast for Better Days™ Initiative, which will provide five million servings of breakfast to children throughout 2014, with 25 000 school children receiving breakfast every school day.
With one in eight people around the world facing food insecurity each day, Kellogg Company and its foundation, the Kellogg’s Corporate Citizenship fund, have pledged to provide a billion servings of breakfast and snacks to children and families who need it most, through this global initiative. In South Africa, a breakfast of Kellogg’s cereal and milk will be provided to children in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape and Eastern Cape provinces. Partnering with Kellogg are FoodBank South Africa, the country’s largest food banking network and Kellogg’s international partner in the global initiative, who will distribute the food; and Parmalat, who will be donating the required milk.
Children who don’t eat breakfast before school are at a disadvantage, and no one has better insight into this than the teachers on the ground. Khuziwe Shiba is a Grade 2 teacher at Ikwezi Primary School in Mofolo North, Soweto, one of the schools which will be benefitting from the Breakfast for Better Days™ Initiative.
She says: “The kids that have breakfast come to school bubbly, loving, smiling and active, and look forward to the day ahead. The ones that don’t have breakfast are gloomy, tired, passive and don’t want to play or participate. They are not able to concentrate and easily lose interest. A hungry child struggles to follow what is going on in the classroom.”
Studies indicate that breakfast helps children feel more alert and be in a better mood in the morning. That first meal of the day supports concentration in the classroom6,7 and helps fuel physical activity on the playing field 8,9, which can translate into more fun. Breakfast intake has also been associated with improved memory, test grades and school attendance7. Cereal is high in carbohydrates, which are the body and brain’s main source of energy. Research has shown10,11 that children who start their day with breakfast tend to have a lower Body Mass Index (BMI) and less chance of being overweight or obese.
“Breakfast is not just a meal; it’s part of the making of a brighter future. When kids start the morning right, there’s no end to the opportunities for fun and learning that each day can bring,” said Jack Kruger, Kellogg’s Marketing Category Manager. “We want every child to have a bright start, fuelled by the power of breakfast. That’s why we are donating five million servings of breakfast in 2014, and hopefully we’ll help make a tangible difference in their lives.”
Banking on a better future
Kellogg is partnering with FoodBank, which will be distributing breakfast to the 25 000 children every school day in 2014. FoodBank will collect and transport cereal and long life milk from Kellogg’s Distribution Centres and Parmalat to its own warehouses, where it will be sorted and packed for each individual participating school and delivered monthly.
“Providing regular breakfasts to these children, many of whom come from disadvantaged communities, gives them an opportunity to concentrate better in class,” said Neil Davison, National Operations Manager for FoodBank South Africa. “The better concentration in class and significantly improved attendance figures we know we will see, will go a long way towards improving the standard of education in these classrooms,” he added.
“The Breakfast for Better Days™ Initiative is a social responsibility programme that we really wanted to be involved in, both because it will assist communities that struggle to put breakfast on the table, but also because it enforces how important breakfast is to a good start,” said Janine Greyling, Parmalat Marketing Manager. “Good eating habits are established in childhood, and we hope that once these children and their families see the benefits at school of a cereal and milk breakfast, they will make it a habit for life.”
Here’s a look at the impressive stats which illustrate the scope of the Breakfast for Better Days™ Initiative in 2014:
150,000 kg of cereal
500,000 litres of milk
25,000 bowls and spoons