Breakfast Club of Canada
Great news! Cora restaurants across Canada are hosting a fundraising event in support of Breakfast Club of Canada. Yes, you read that right! From October 18 to 31, in every Cora restaurant across the country, all kids’ breakfasts will cost ONE DOLLAR, with all profits going to support Breakfast Club of Canada.
We’ve been proudly supporting the organization since 2008 and I couldn’t be more pleased. Children are the future of our country, and by starting the day with a full tummy, they’ll all have the same chance to learn and thrive at school.
Breakfast Club of Canada is a non-profit organization founded in 1994 by Daniel Germain, founder, and Judith Barry, co-founder. The organization has been helping children improve their chances of success in school for 27 years. I’ve had the opportunity to speak to them on a few occasions, and Ms. Barry shared that one of her priorities in life is to use her talents to improve the well-being of young children.
The duo started out very modestly by convincing a few underprivileged schools in neighbourhoods on Montreal’s south shore to let them bring in morning meals to distribute to the children. They then set up an area in the schools with a fridge and cupboards, and called on volunteers, retired grandmothers and grandfathers to help out. Donors were solicited for milk, cereal, cheese, waffles, etc., then small equipment such as a toaster for each school, waffle iron and some French toast pans. Little by little, by 2006, Breakfast Club of Canada was active in 200 neighbourhood schools across Quebec, serving a nutritious breakfast to children.
The founders and members of the organization noticed that the Club’s impact was profound. The original goal may have been to feed kids to help nourish their academic performance, but they found that the program’s value went far beyond that: the children's attitudes improved as they became attached to the volunteers, they formed bonds, they learned to trust in people and welcome their support. They were even touched by teachers’ involvement outside of school hours. Everyone involved in serving breakfast to the kids also noticed the huge difference the volunteers’ camaraderie, kindness and friendliness made to the kids’ behaviour. Many children were searching for human affection and grew closer to the volunteers over the 10-month school year. Their sense of belonging and engagement noticeably improved, much to the delight of the teachers.
It’s important to know too that when a school welcomes a breakfast program, there is no discrimination: all children in that school, from every background, are eligible.
I particularly remember the testimonial of a grandmother from Ontario. She told me the story of an 11-year-old girl and her 6-year-old brother who never wanted to go to school. Holding hands, the little boy bawled while the girl explained to the grandmother that she never saw him because he lived with a different family.
And then there was Sabrina, a young girl who used the program during elementary school and who later became a volunteer at a local school during her high school and university studies. Her experience with Breakfast Club of Canada inspired her to go to university and become a pediatrician, so that she too could devote her life to the well-being of children one day.
I have been to a few of the Club's programs to serve breakfast to the children and was very impressed with the warm atmosphere that was evident.
This success prompted the founders to expand, first in Ontario and then across Canada. Today, 500,000 CHILDREN HAVE ACCESS TO A HEALTHY BREAKFAST EVERY MORNING in more than 3,100 programs selected across Canada this school year. Still, there is a tremendous need in the country, with 600 schools on a waiting list, eager to welcome a breakfast program. In addition, community organizations across Canada have mobilized to help the organization pursue its mission.
At Cora, we’re very proud to support this great organization, especially since our young customers love our breakfast menu. Moms and dads everywhere can take part too: With each order of a delicious sweet ’n salty Breakfast for the Club dish, 50 cents will go to Breakfast Club of Canada.
And let’s not forget the words of the illustrious Honoré de Balzac:
“In every case, we receive only in proportion to what we give."