42% of Canadian children go to school without breakfast. The Breakfast Club for Kids is a program focused on giving all children an equal opportunity to improve their academic performance by removing the leading barrier to learning: hunger. By feeding children a nutritious morning meal, students have shown marked improvements in and out of the classroom. The need for breakfast programs is continually increasing as parents, teachers, school staff and children are becoming more aware of how important it is to eat well in order to learn well.
The Breakfast Club for Kids Program is run entirely by volunteers (approximately 300). This number translates to $380,000 worth of volunteer hours per year for the Breakfast Clubs. The breakfast programs are well organized and well managed; many volunteers are the founding members of their programs and have continued doing this for many years. A low turnover of volunteers reflects contentment with their positions and with the support provided to them through The Human League.
The Human League currently provides funding to local school breakfast and snack programs within the City of Greater Sudbury and Manitoulin District. We work directly with other community agencies to ensure adequate funding and support is available to all schools wishing to start a breakfast program for their students.
Feeding children has had some positive and unexpected results. It was known that learning would become easier for children if they were provided a nutritious meal in the morning. What we did not expect was that those schools providing a breakfast program would observe a 20% reduction in incident and severity reports. Children have become more sociable and interact at a higher level of tolerance, sharing and caring.
Teachers have reported; higher attendance, a decrease in behavioural issues, and an increase in leadership skills as a result of the nutrition program.