Feeding hungry minds

Cargill employees help nourish students across Canada


Learn how Cargill Canada employees connect to communities they work in by volunteering to provide nutritious breakfasts to children.


October 2011 – What your mother told you is true; breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. Cargill Canada has taken this to heart and in the last year has donated more than $100,000 to Breakfast for Learning (BFL), a leading national Canadian nonprofit dedicated to child nutrition.

Nutritional research shows that well-nourished students have improved memory, stronger problem solving skills and improved behavior − overall, they perform better in school.  Yet, thousands of children go to school hungry each day.

Cargill Canada is partnering with BFL to provide a safe, community-centered environment for students to receive a healthy meal or snack – giving them the energy they need to stay alert and engaged in class during this important time in their development.

Making a real difference

For more than 19 years, BFL has helped nourish youth across Canada by empowering communities to start and sustain school nutrition programs, in order to enhance learning and the healthy development of children.

By starting and sustaining over 3,100 school-based breakfast, lunch and snack programs, BFL has helped to nourish more than 2.5 million children from coast to coast. In addition, BFL provides ongoing program and research support, child nutrition education and resources to help raise awareness and educate communities about the vital link between proper nutrition and learning.

Costs for nutritional meals are minimal: $0.85 feeds one child a hot breakfast; $0.55 provides a snack; and $2 supplies a child with a hot lunch. In 2010, BFL served more than 46 million nutritious meals and snacks to more than 267,000 children and youth.

A step in the right direction

Through community investments around the world, Cargill actively supports solutions to hunger, youth nutrition and wellness.

In collaboration with BFL, Cargill Canada is participating in a community model that brings together the public, private and volunteer sectors to provide nutritious food to caring, community- centered programs. By delivering and serving meals, and participating in classroom activities with students, Cargill Canada employees have realized when a child is hungry, it’s harder to learn.

“Cargill volunteers have the opportunity to help with everything from preparing and serving the food to assisting with clean up,” said Mike Kirzinger, Territory Manager at Cargill’s Specialty Canola Oils facility in Aberdeen. “It is rewarding for us to visit the participating schools and meet the talented, inspiring students who benefit from this program. Breakfast for Learning provides these students with the nutritious food they need to start their day, and we are proud to support such a valuable program and look forward to continuing this support.

By 2012, the goal is to have increased involvement through employee volunteer efforts and financial support. Cargill Canada’s donation to BFL helps provide:

  • Direct funding for child nutrition programs across Canada
  • Ongoing nutrition education and support for these programs
  • Research that supports the vital link between proper nutrition and learning

“The most impressive part of the Breakfast for Learning program is seeing the impact it has on the students and hearing from the teachers the difference this program makes on the kids,” said Kirzinger.

The importance of breakfast

Breakfast is an important meal of the day, and making healthy choices in the morning can help ensure kids have the energy they need for the day ahead. Investing in a nutritious breakfast will not only give kids positive health benefits, but it will also help to teach them about the importance of healthy eating and lay a foundation for a healthy future.

In Canada, 31 percent of elementary school students and 62 percent of secondary school students do not eat a healthy breakfast daily, and one in ten children live below the poverty line making meals harder to come by. Cargill saw the need and extended a hand to help.