Kickoff of Breakfast Club of Canada’s 25th anniversary year
- 40 million breakfasts served
- 1,809 breakfast programs currently running
- 243,000 children eating breakfast every morning
These are just a few numbers to give you a better idea of what the Club has accomplished over the past quarter of a century.
But rest assured there’s no chance of president and founder Daniel Germain and co-founder Judith Barry resting on their laurels. They’re determined to make sure EVERY child in Canada has access to a healthy morning meal, every single day. That works out to over a million students covered by a national meal program – something every G7 country except Canada already has.
On November 5, Daniel and Judith travelled to Lionel-Groulx School in Longueuil, Quebec – where the whole adventure first began 25 years ago – to commemorate this milestone and stress their commitment to doing even more in the future. Another 100 or so staff members followed their lead, lending a helping hand at breakfast programs across the country.
We also held a brunch event in Boucherville, Quebec, near our head office, where partners, volunteers and employees came to celebrate 25 years of wonderful memories and noteworthy achievements.
There will be other special events between now and November 2020 to mark this important anniversary. Be sure to check back for the latest updates and watch for #BCCturns25 on your favourite social media platform. Click here for some great pictures from the day’s festivities!
Is there anything more endearing than a sparkle of wonder in a child’s eyes?
Have you ever heard of Dreams Take Flight?
It’s a charity that current and former Air Canada employees created in collaboration with the Air Canada Foundation to give children from underprivileged communities the chance to experience a day of pure magic.
Every year, young recipients are selected from a number of organizations, including Breakfast Club of Canada, to take part in a very special 24-hour trip to Walt Disney.
This year, the big day came on November 6. On board the southbound plane were one student from Adrien-Gamache School and three from Curé-Paquin School.
Their trip was many things: jam-packed, fun-filled, awe-inspiring and, most of all, chock-full of magical moments.
Jean Pelletier, assistant principal of Adrien-Gamache School, asked Magalie Dalcourt, the student who was chosen for this year’s trip, for her impressions. She had nothing but glowing remarks. In fact, she described the entire day without pausing for a breath!
“There were Disney characters at the airport. And you know what? They had great big fairy-tale doors. And the clown in the airplane was so funny! My ears hurt a little, but I flew right above the clouds. What I liked the most was the rollercoaster in the dark. It was amazing. There was magic everywhere – everywhere! Then I met Tinkerbell and she watched the fireworks with us. After, we took a boat to go back to our plane and I even almost lost my glasses! Good thing I didn’t! And it was such a nice warm day – not like it is here right now!”
It’s easy to imagine Magalie’s eyes glisten with joy and excitement as she recounted her adventure – and feeling that may stay with her forever. The day was a hit in so many ways.
But how did Magalie get picked for the trip? Simple! She was nominated by Mr. Pelletier and Club volunteer Linda Gauthier. Linda sees Magalie every morning at the school breakfast program. Linda had witnessed first-hand how much of a go-getter Magalie is and how quick she is to lend a helping hand, always treating others with respect. Congratulations, Magalie! That’s something to be very proud of!
Her travel companions were three students from Curé-Paquin School, some of whom come from a bit of a rocky background. The trip was a unique experience that got them out of their comfort zone and boosted their self-esteem: remember they were travelling by themselves, without their parents, and taking the plane for the very first time. They were practically bursting with pride!
Josée Brunelle, the principal at Curé-Paquin, was effusive in her praise for the initiative: “When we let parents know their child has been chosen for such an incredible experience, they are overcome with emotion. They are often moved to tears – of joy, naturally. And their gratitude is palpable – as is their children’s!”
When all is said and done, this is much more than a simple trip to Disney. It’s a voyage of discovery, designed to show students how fantastic life can be and to let them know that their efforts do not go unnoticed.
The breakfast program at Curé-Paquin School is greatly appreciated by parents, too. The volunteers who work there are extraordinary. They are students from high school and CEGEP and adults who come help out before their work day begins. They generously give more than just their time: they are a source of comfort, security and friendship.
Together, these volunteers are pointing the way to a better world. They are showing their young charges how beautiful life can be.
After their day of enchantment, the kids return home, still with a dreamy look on their face and their hearts overflowing with delight.
Thank you to Dreams Take Flight and our partners at Air Canada Foundation, as well as other sponsors who make this uplifting initiative possible – and put that special sparkle in so many eyes!
Breakfast Club of Canada, which celebrated its 25th anniversary this year, is proud and grateful to have earned Imagine Canada accreditation. This designation attests to our commitment to directing all of our funds where they need to go, to nurturing potential, growing healthy students and giving an equal chance of success to all kids.
The Imagine Canada Standards Program applies to charitable and non-profit organizations in Canada. Of over 170,000 non-profits across the country, only 200+ have received this accreditation to date. We are honoured to join the ranks of these organizations recognized for their excellence, leadership and credibility. The Club is one of the first organizations to focus on school nutrition and only the second with nation-wide reach. To be approved, we had to meet 75 requirements in five key areas:
- Board governance
- Financial accountability and transparency
- Staff management
- Volunteer involvement.
This accreditation will allow us to build further on our already strong reputation in order to extend our network of partners and donors. This kind of recognition is often taken into account when key decisions are made. It is proof of our commitment, professionalism and transparency in everything we do.
Now that we are Imagine Canada accredited, we hope to be able to support even more schools and make an even greater difference in the lives of young Canadians, one breakfast at a time.
Learn more: Press Release
The Global Child Nutrition Forum
Every year, leaders from around the world gather together to discuss the advances and challenges in child nutrition in their respective communities. For many years now, members of the Club’s team have been among the guests, thanks to the generosity of the Air Canada Foundation. We are always inspired by the diverse expertise we are exposed to and appreciate the opportunity to share our own experience with other organizations.
In December 2019, Daniel and Judith travelled to Cambodia to attend the 21st annual Global Child Nutrition Forum. They learned a great deal during their trip, which they were happy to relate to us when they got back – and we in turn are happy to share their insights with you to inspire you to do even more for the next generation.
Worldwide, there are 73 million elementary school–aged children who do not have access to a school nutrition program.
One of the obstacles faced by many charities is the false perception of having to compete with other organizations, rather than work together. At the Club, we revel in the opportunity to pool our resources and speak in a unified voice. As such, we are stepping up our efforts to further build our network – which will ultimately translate to even more services for children.
Another challenge currently facing our peers around the world is how to properly assess and leverage the benefits of school food programs. We all know that children cannot achieve their full potential on an empty stomach. Although there are many studies and concrete data to back this up, we need to be even more thorough in our documentation and to shine the spotlight on the positive outcomes of our programs so we can persuade stakeholders across the social, political and business spectrum to join us in our efforts. We feel this is a particularly pressing need. We are therefore working with a social impact agency, which is currently conducting an evaluation of the Club’s efforts and approaches nation-wide. Our ultimate goal is to make sure every one of our actions leads to results.
School meal programs in Cambodia
Given that the 21st annual GCNF was hosted by Cambodia, it was an ideal opportunity for us to learn more about how they tackle the issue of making sure children have the energy to learn, every day.
- Every year, Cambodia celebrates National Nutrition Day, during which parents, school administrators and members of the community come together to prepare and serve a meal for schoolchildren and then sit down to enjoy it with them.
- Although it represents only a small percentage of the food consumed, every school in Cambodia has a garden, which they use to teach the value of healthy eating.
- All parents and children are invited to share feedback about their nutrition program.
- Menus vary seasonally. Schools plan about six alternating daily menus, which are changed monthly to incorporate a variety of fresh seasonal food.
- Schools also receive assistance from an NGO, which helps them manage their nutrition program and improve the quality of what they grow in their garden.
Inspiration from around the world
Other organizations and countries also shared their experiences at GCNF. Here are a few we found particularly interesting.
- A study conducted by the United Nations World Food Programme in conjunction with Harvard University found that every $1 invested in a school meal program generated $3 to $10 in societal benefits.
- In Bangladesh, one aspect of a child nutrition program involves educating parents about the importance of good eating habits and their impact on a child’s development.
- Japanese schools have nutrition teachers on staff to lead school meal programs.
- The school nutrition program in Palau is partially funded by taxes levied on junk food and tobacco products.
- In Brazil, 30% of the food served in school programs is sourced from local farmers.
We hope that this quick look at some of the ideas that have been developed around the world will give you some “food for thought” as we continue to develop our own solutions to improve child nutrition right here in Canada.
What you’ll need:
- 2 cookie sheets
- 2 sheets of parchment paper
- Measuring cup kit
- 2 medium saucepans
- 1 wooden spoon
- 1 medium bowl
- 1 spatula
- 1 chef’s knife
- 1 cutting board
- For the pumpkin seed nougat:
- 1 cup (250 mL) pumpkin seeds
- ¼ cup (60 mL) white granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp (30 mL) water
For the energy bites:
- 5 cups (1250 mL) dried figs, small diced
- 1¼ cup (310 mL) dried apricots, small diced
- 1 cup (250 mL) dried cherries, small diced
- 1 cup (250 mL) raisins
- 1 cup (250 mL) dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
- ½ cup (125 mL) apple juice
- 1 cup (250 mL) sunflower butter
- 1 1/3 cup (250 m) cocoa powder
- ¼ cup (60 mL) maple syrup
- Coarsely chop pumpkin seeds. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, heat the sugar and water and cook until a light caramel forms. Pour in pumpkin seeds and stir vigorously until seeds are covered. Set aside pumpkin seed nougat.
- In a medium saucepan, rehydrate the dried fruit pieces by heating them in the apple juice for approximately 10 minutes, until a paste forms.
- Coarsely chop pumpkin seed nougat.
- Put all ingredients plus 1 cup of the cocoa powder in a medium bowl and knead until dough is even. Set aside in freezer for about 10 minutes.
- Pour the remaining cocoa powder onto a cookie sheet.
- Roll mixture and shape into little balls. Place on cookie sheet. Roll balls in cocoa powder until they are evenly covered.
CHEF’S TIP: Shaping the balls is easier if you use single-use gloves. Or, you can put the mixture in the fridge or freezer if it becomes too sticky.
NUTRITIONIST’S TIP: Energy bites are an excellent snack and full of great nutrients! Use your imagination: use different fruits or seeds, add chia or hemp seeds, nuts or even a variety of spices or flavours! Delicious with a glass of soy milk!