In her role as V.P. of Corporate Social Responsibility, Jodi has been helping to positively influence and shape cultural values. Her unique background – one that includes 20 years working both in the nonprofit sector as well as in the corporate space – has contributed to her dedication to fighting hunger.
Talk a little about Kellogg’s history in giving back to the community.
JODI: It actually dates back to our founder, W.K. Kellogg. Not only was he a successful entrepreneur, but he was also one of the country’s foremost philanthropists of the 20th century. He really embedded a culture of giving back and helping those in need that still exists in our company’s DNA. Today, we live his legacy through our global outreach program, Breakfasts For Better Days®.
What is the Breakfasts for Better Days program?
JODI: It’s our global hunger-relief initiative that focuses on providing breakfasts to individuals in need. Through Breakfasts for Better Days, we’ve set a goal to provide one billion servings of our cereal and snacks, more than half of which are breakfast, to children and families in need around the world by the end of 2016. We’re on track to not only meet but exceed this goal.
Why was it so important to develop this program?
JODI: One in nine people around the world faces hunger. No one wants to see this happen. So we believe one of the most important ways we can help is through our foods. Kellogg wants to help moms and dads who are struggling to feed their children through our food donations and by expanding school breakfast programs around the world to help all children and families reach their full potential.
How is Kellogg helping to expand the U.S. Federal School Breakfast Program?
JODI: One of the biggest ways is by helping to move breakfast to the classroom. When breakfast is served in the cafeteria, fewer kids take advantage of it – either because they aren’t able to get to school early enough or because of the stigma attached for low-income kids. We’ve provided more than $2 million in grants since 2013 to help schools with startup costs – for equipment like portable coolers and carts – to assist in serving breakfast in the classroom. And in 2015, we will be awarding an additional $1 million in new grant money to bring this program to even more schools. With such change, kids now have the ability to eat breakfast in their first class of the day. The result is that more kids – especially the ones most in need – are able to take advantage of the program. We’re getting more kids off to a good start in the morning.
How has serving breakfast in the classroom been received?
JODI: The response has been overwhelmingly positive. When we first started the program, we knew the children served would benefit from starting their day with a nutritious breakfast. And as we implemented the program, we learned from teachers, principals and school nutritionists that the students benefitted from more than just the meal itself. We heard from teachers that being able to share breakfast together with the kids helped to set the tone for the day and created a positive learning environment for the students. They said they witness improved social skills and behavior among the students which also increases the engagement of the students in school.
What impact has Breakfasts for Better Days made so far?
JODI: Since we launched Breakfasts for Better Days in 2012, Kellogg has provided more than 900 million servings of our food to food banks around the world. We’ve also started or supported breakfast programs and clubs in more than 30 countries so more children around the world can start their day with breakfast. In the U.S. specifically, we’ve helped increase daily participation rates in school breakfast programs so more kids are eating a good breakfast.
How can schools get involved in the U.S. Federal School Breakfast program?
JODI: The first step is to learn what your school is currently offering by checking with your school nutritionist or an administrator at the school. Then, if the school would like more assistance accessing the program, they can work with organizations such as our partners, the Food Research and Action Center or Action for Healthy Kids to learn more.
What else can be done to fight hunger?
JODI: We want to invite our consumers to join us in our efforts through special programs like Give a Child Breakfast, which makes donations with Kellogg’s cereal purchases made at specified times of the year, to help generate more support for our Breakfasts for Better Days charity partners, like Action for Healthy Kids. People can also donate their time or money to hunger-relief organizations, such as our Breakfasts For Better Days charity partners, including Feeding America and its network of local food banks, and Food Research and Action Center, which works in schools.
In the long-term, we really hope to bring Breakfasts for Better Days to more countries so we can help more children and families facing hunger around the world. Check out Jodi’s blog post about our partnership with Feeding America to see how together, we can all help kids have a successful school year.