Feeding young minds: Breakfast Clubs of Canada
This past winter, Walmart Canada partnered with national charity partner, Breakfast Clubs of Canada (BCC) for its Taste for Learning Campaign to raise a record-breaking $3.1 million in donations for school breakfast programs across the country.
The Taste for Learning Campaign is our most recent annual fundraiser with Breakfast Clubs of Canada, a national not-for-profit organization focused on providing services and funding to school breakfast programs for children in at-risk communities across the country.
Our partnership with BCC stretches back to 2006 – built on our shared commitment to the cause of helping families in need and feeding our children’s future. In fact, Walmart Canada is now their largest corporate sponsor, donating and raising close to $16 million to BCC over the past five years. In that time, BCC has evolved its mandate from purely funding a network of breakfast programs across Canada to actually developing, supporting and sustaining the breakfast programs directly with the schools, school boards, and community partners themselves.
“Walmart has been with us every step of the way,” says Daniel Germain, president and founder of Breakfast Clubs of Canada. “As a partner, they have been an integral part of our success and they strongly believe in our mission. Their support of this year’s Taste for Learning Tour will help us provide even more nutritious starts to the day for children in urban and First Nation communities across Canada.”
The ABCs of Breakfast
- One in 10 Canadian children (637,000) live in poverty with the risk of going to school on an empty stomach
- In the 2010-11 school year, BCC served more than16 million breakfasts to children attending schools in disadvantaged areas
- That means breakfast for 107,000 children in nearly 1,034 schools across Canada – including 8,000 children in 49 schools in First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities
- In 2011, Walmart Canada donated and raised $3.1 million
- Since 2006, we’ve raised almost $16 million for BCC
Filling an appetite for learning
The benefits of a balanced breakfast go well beyond filling an empty stomach. Teaching staff have reported at least 30 minutes more effective teaching time per day, as a result of breakfast program in their schools. Over an academic year, those minutes quickly add up to greater overall productivity and success in the classroom.
Breakfast Clubs of Canada points to the following benefits of its in-school breakfast programs:
- Improved attendance and punctuality
- Renewed interest in curriculum subjects
- Increased understanding of how healthy eating habits affect energy levels
- Improved behaviour and increased concentration, leading to greater achievement
- Improved social skills and confidence to interact with other children and adults
- Reduced bullying through increased cross-age and peer-group interaction and communication
- Enhanced relationships with family members and the wider community of breakfast clubs
The Taste for Learning Tour
In February 2011, BCC launched their eight-city Taste for Learning Tour across Canada to build awareness and support for their school breakfast programs nationwide. Following the tour, Walmart stores kicked off an month-long in-store fundraising campaign where customers were invited to purchase a $1 bookmark, which pays for one nutritious breakfast for a child.
The in-store campaign raised more than $2.2 million and received more than $646,000 in corporate matching grants. All funds raised will enable BCC to supply equipment, food donations, management tools and support for their breakfast programs.
A focus on First Nations
In 2011, BCC served up breakfast programs to 8,000 children in First Nations, Métis and Inuit schools in seven provinces across Canada.
Poverty levels in many of these communities has reached the critical stage – with fully one quarter, and nearly half of those living off the reserve, living below the poverty line. To worsen matters, in some communities, the school dropout rate has soared as high as 98 per cent.
Walmart Canada helped to fund the original pilot breakfast program held in four different aboriginal communities in 2009. Based on the positive enthusiastic initial response, BCC partnered with Walmart to expand the program, reaching 10,000 children in more than 62 schools by the end of the 2011-2012 school year.
BCC has adapted its breakfast programs to reflect local aboriginal culture with menus serving traditional foods such as bannock, while also respecting Canada’s Food Guide.