Canadian teachers seeing the reality of hunger in classrooms

hunger1When school bells ring out across the country to signal the start of another school year, Canadians are reminded of the power, potential and importance of education. What kids learn in school, both in the classroom and out, can determine just how bright their future will be. However, for the one in five Canadian children who start each school day running on empty, having missed out on breakfast because there isn’t enough to eat at home, the promise of a new academic year is clouded by hunger. 1

The third annual Kellogg’s Breakfasts for Better Days Survey of active Canadian school teachers reveals that not getting enough breakfast and going to school hungry is having a startling impact on students from coast-to-coast. Indeed, teachers reported that kids who regularly miss breakfast lose, on average, 132 minutes of learning time every day. That’s four months per year or nearly five years of lost learning from Kindergarten through grade 12! 2

“As a teacher, it was impossible for me to remain unaffected by the struggle of students who consistently came to school without eating a nutritious breakfast in the morning,” explains Paul Jones, Radio Voice of the Toronto Raptors and a former elementary school teacher and principal. “I would look out at my class and immediately recognize the signs of hunger. Students fighting to focus on the lesson. Falling asleep at their desk. Acting out. Stealing food. Bullying other students. And my experience isn’t unique — many teachers I know tell the same story.”


Echoing Mr. Jones’ experience in the classroom, respondents to the Kellogg’s survey agreed that hunger has a tangible impact on both academic performance and the behaviour of students. In fact:

  • 93 per cent of teachers said that students who eat breakfast achieve better academic results than those who do not;
  • 86 per cent responded that students who come to school hungry are more likely to engage in bullying than their peers;
  • Three-quarters reported that children who miss breakfast are more easily frustrated (77%), angered, annoyed or irritated (73%);
  • 63 per cent confirmed that hungry students are more disruptive in class; and
  • Two-thirds of Canadian teachers observed that students who come to school without breakfast struggle to make friends.

“What every Canadian needs to take away from these survey results is that, when a child comes to school with an empty stomach, their hunger affects every student in the class,” adds Jones. “The time that a teacher takes to care for a child who is acting out or bullying a peer simply because, through no fault of their own, they are hungry, is time they are not spending with the rest of the class.”

The negative impacts of hunger in the classroom have led to 92 per cent of teachers surveyed admitting that they have personally helped a student who has arrived at school hungry and over half (54 per cent) have brought in extra food for students in need. 2

Teachers, however, also recognize that they can’t solve the problem alone and agree that school breakfast programs make a difference in the lives of students. Among teachers surveyed who are working in a school with a breakfast program, nearly all (98 per cent) said that it delivers positive results. And over two-thirds (69 per cent) of teachers in schools without a breakfast program thought that starting one would help students achieve their potential.

“At Kellogg, we believe in the power of breakfast to feed better days,” says Lores Tomé, Director, Communications and Corporate Affairs, Kellogg Canada. “When children start the day off with a nutritious breakfast, we know they are better equipped to learn, succeed and surpass their goals. That’s why we’re so committed to shedding a light on the issue of hunger in the classroom, and why we have donated more than 3 million dollars and 30 million servings of cereal and snacks to national breakfast partners like Breakfasts Club Canada and Food Banks Canada.”

To increase awareness of the reality of hunger in Canadian classrooms, Kellogg Canada is calling on Canadians to join in the conversation by sharing the #FeedingBetterDays Infographic and Reverse Hunger Online Video on social media using #FeedingBetterDays. And for those who want to do more to help, the company is once again making it as easy as buying a box of Kellogg’s cereal. This fall, building on highly successful Breakfasts for Better Days programs in 2014 and 2015, with every box purchased the company will donate a portion of the proceeds to its breakfast partners across Canada to a maximum of $100,000.

Last February, as part of the company’s global Breakfasts for Better Days global hunger initiative which began in 2013, Kellogg announced that it had surpassed its milestone to donate 1 billion servings globally by the end of 2016 — nearly a full year early. To date, approximately 1.4 billion servings of cereal and snacks have been provided to children and families in need around the world.  – CNW

Related Posts

Leave a Reply