Inflation and rising food costs
Boucherville, November, 1— Barely two months after the start of the school year, Breakfast Club of Canada is facing an important increase in the need for access to nutritious food in schools, and a double increase: the number of children served has doubled in recent years, and more than 70 schools in highly vulnerable areas are on a waiting list for a program in Quebec. Added to this is the rising cost of food, which puts a heavy strain on the non-profit’s ability to maintain its activities.
In this particular context, the Club is asking the government of Quebec to include in its next budget the funds needed to deal with this critical situation by offering equal opportunity for all children attending schools in underprivileged areas.
Nearly 80,000 children reached in Quebec
Over the past few years, the Club has seen a steady and sustained growth in demand for its services, and this trend seems to have accelerated since the start of the school year. Interestingly, between 2020 and 2023, the number of children reached by the Club increased by 95%, from over 40,000 to over 79,000 across the province, while the number of breakfast programs has increased by only 30%.
A growing waiting list
Because of the high pressure of inflation on the organization, the Club must aim all its resources on maintaining its current activities and does not have the financial capacity to support the establishment of new programs. As a result, the waiting list has been growing steadily for the past two years. Today, more than 70 schools in the most underpriviledged areas in Quebec are hoping to see a breakfast program open in their area.
Too many hungry students
To ensure that all children start their day with a full stomach, the Club wants to reach all children who attend a school in an underprivileged area in the province (socio-economic index [SEI] of 8, 9 or 10). At present, nearly 180,000 children in over 660 schools in vulnerable areas do not benefit from this essential support for academic success and equal opportunities.
The Quebec region with the greatest needs are Montreal (68,600 children), Montérégie (28,600) and Lanaudière (14,500).
Other regions of Quebec also have very high rates of underserved children. These include Centre-du-Québec, with 6,600 children to be reached, representing 79% of students in underprivileged areas, Bas-Saint-Laurent (72.6%) and Abitibi-Témiscamingue (71%).
“Our greatest wish is to be able to support children, especially those attending schools in underpriviledged areas. For months now, we’ve been doing our utmost to meet the ever-increasing demand. However, the needs are far greater than the means currently available. That’s why we’re calling on the government of Quebec to include the necessary financial support in its next budget.”
– Tommy Kulczyk, president and CEO, Breakfast Club of Canada
“Breakfast Club of Canada has the structure, expertise, financial backing from the private sector and the general public, hundreds of committed volunteers and a solid network of partners to reach all children in underprivileged areas right now. Unfortunately, we simply don’t have the financial capacity. We want the government of Quebec to make concrete, short-term commitments.”
– Marie-Claude Bienvenue, Vice-President, Government and Municipal Relations – Quebec, Breakfast Club of Canada.
About Breakfast Club of Canada
Since 1994, Breakfast Club of Canada has been working with partners from all sectors to help children access a nutritious breakfast and reach their full potential. Accredited by Imagine Canada for its sound governance and recognized by Aliments du Québec for its promotion of local food products, in addition to its efforts across Canada, the Club helps reach children in every province and territory across the country. Find out more on our website at breakfastclubcanada.org or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, X and LinkedIn.
For further information
Virginie Aubé Pelletier
Breakfast Club of Canada