By: Lisa Gable, President of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation and Michelle Guillermin, Director of Healthy Communities for the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation
Renee Hoefler, a first grade teacher in Battle Creek, Michigan, has seen first hand what a difference starting each day with breakfast in the classroom makes.
“The ability for the kids to maintain their focus on their studies once we start our day has been a drastic turn around,” she said.
Renee’s class is one of many across the country that is increasing participation in School Breakfast Programs as part of Breakfasts for Better Days, a philanthropic initiative by Kellogg Company to help feed kids worldwide.
“I always say to them when your tummies are full your brains are ready to learn so it’s a really good start to our day,” Renee explained.
According to U.S. federal statistics, 20 million elementary- and high-school-age students in need receive free or low-cost lunches at school, yet just 10 million of these students receive breakfast at school – leaving a critical gap in their nutritional needs.
Since 2013, Kellogg Company Fund, the charitable arm of Kellogg, has spent more than $2 million to help increase breakfast participation at schools nationwide. Action for Healthy Kids, a Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation partner, is one of the recipients of Kellogg grants. These funds have benefitted more than 260 schools in 32 states.
“All children deserve to be healthy and ready to learn at the beginning of their school day,” said Rob Bisceglie, CEO of Action for Healthy Kids. “Millions of students rely on the national School Breakfast Program to make that happen. The support we get from foundations and companies like Kellogg is absolutely critical in the work we do to broaden access to this program for kids who need it most.”
Teachers say being able to share breakfast together with the kids helped to set the tone for the day and created a positive learning environment for the students. They said they witness improved social skills and behavior.
“A large part of why we were so enthusiastic about having breakfast in the classroom was just trying to build those connections with kids.,” Renee said, “Any school district could benefit from breakfast in the classroom. It definitely starts the students out on the right path for their day.”
Kellogg has committed another $1 million in grants for 2015. These grants have helped provide 7 million breakfasts to kids in need in U.S. schools so far.
“We believe in the power of breakfast to feed better days and better lives,” says Kris Charles, vice president, global communications and philanthropy, Kellogg Company. “That’s why, with our partners, we are helping ensure more kids start their day with this important meal.
To learn more about Kellogg and its initiatives, check out this video.
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