Kellogg raises awareness of "summer hunger"

Food company lends a hand to parents struggling to feed their kids this summer

Kellogg Canada is raising awareness of “summer hunger” among children by taking its food program beyond the confines of school bells.

The cereal maker has donated $70,000 to Food Banks Canada’s After the Bell Hunger Program, which gives kids and families mini-meal packs that fill multiple meal gaps such as breakfast, lunch or snack times.

The initiative, which will provide more than 55,000 meals to almost 6,000 kids in need this summer, builds on Kellogg’s longtime commitment to support food banks and breakfast clubs in Canada.

It comes on the heels of a survey conducted by Kellogg’s that revealed one-third of Canadian parents from low to middle income families are challenged to provide their children at least one meal a day during the summer holidays.

“When you consider that 20% of parents rely on breakfast and other food programs at their child’s school during the school year to fill the meal gap, clearly the summer is especially difficult for struggling families,” says Lores Tomé, director of communications and corporate affairs at Kellogg Canada in Mississauga, Ont.

Breakfast and other food programs at schools close for summer after the last school bell, forcing many families to turn to food banks to help fill the gap, notes Pam Jolliffe, interim executive director of Food Banks Canada.

It’s the first time Kellogg Canada has focused its efforts on the issue of summer hunger. The initiative is part of the company’s global signature cause, Breakfasts for Better Days.

Food Banks Canada developed the After the Bell program last year and worked with a registered dietitian to ensure the contents were appealing to kids and met their nutritional needs. The After the Bell mini-meal packs include items such as hummus with crackers, cereal bars, fruit, tuna salad and vegetables.

Meals are distributed either through participating Food Banks Canada food banks or through partnerships with summer camp programs or community centres.

Kellogg is raising awareness of the issue of summer hunger with a social media program, in partnership with Food Banks Canada. Canadians are being encouraged to share Kellogg’s Summer Hunger infographic or animated infographic using the hashtag #FeedingBetterDays.

Food Banks Canada says 310,000 Canadian children relied on food banks in 2015 and that food bank usage is up 26% since 2008.

Kellogg Canada has donated more than $3 million and 27 million servings of cereal and snacks to breakfast clubs and food banks over the past 10 years.

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