A healthy start to the school year

By Bridget Williams March 24, 2016

Many children have a checklist of items they need to start the school year. School clothes or uniforms and school supplies are a must. Students in Central America received one more item to start school this year – information on proper nutrition to help their minds grow.

A regional initiative called “Back to School with Cargill” was developed to train students, teachers and parents on nutrition and food security.

“’Back to School with Cargill’” gave us the opportunity to launch our yearlong nutrition and education program with the participation of hundreds of volunteers, school authorities and more than 16,000 students in a short time frame,” said Maria N. Rivas, Cargill corporate social responsibility manager, Central America. “This had a strong impact in the communities where we operate and built a stronger link between the volunteers and the schools.” 

Through a partnership with CARE, FAO and ministries of education, “Back to school kits” -- containing notebooks, pencils, crayons, and other supplies, along with packages of information and educational games about nutrition aimed at children in pre-school and primary school -- were distributed to students to help start the year right.

“’Back to School with Cargill’” shows that we have taken our corporate social responsibility endeavors a step further,” said Gilberto Quesada, general manager, Cargill Costa Rica. “We are joining the efforts of thousands of Cargill volunteers with local and national authorities as well as international organizations to contribute to the nutrition of students at the schools near our locations.” 

Over 1,000 Cargill volunteers put together and distributed packages for more than 16,000 students in 70 schools located throughout Central America in communities where Cargill does business. The kits were distributed in Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala. 

“’Back to School with Cargill’” is another best practice that makes me proud to be part of this company,” said Cargill volunteer Belkis Romero. Cargill works with these students through the year by providing training on nutrition, access to protein through product donations, school gardens and improved school infrastructure.

“This activity is just an example of how our company is having a positive impact in the community,” said Farid Kattum, general manager, Cargill Honduras. “We reiterate the commitment of our business and our people to continue delivering solutions for sustainable development and food security in the region.”