TORONTO, Feb. 3, 2014 /CNW/ - Eighty one per cent of Canadians believe
children in their community are going without breakfast and nearly as
many believe Canada's ability to feed its hungry children is directly
tied to the future prosperity of our country. Yet, the results of a
one-of-a kind study on food insecurity found many Canadians lack
clarity on this fundamental issue, including as it relates to
school-nutrition programs, the average cost of a nutritious breakfast
and the age of children entitled* to receive them.
These insights are among those uncovered by the "The Toonies for Tummies Survey" of 1,500 Canadians conducted by Leger Canada and sponsored by The Grocery Foundation a not-for-profit organization which, to date, has donated over $75M to
hundreds of charities; with a focus on child welfare.
Among the stark contrasts revealed was the range in perceptions around
the average cost of a nutritious breakfast for school-aged children.
Sixty per cent of Canadians believe the cost starts at $3, ranging
upwards to $10. Only 1 in 5 respondents (18%) of those surveyed think
that a Toonie can provide a nutritious breakfast. The study also found
that more than three in four Canadians (76%) believe children 5-7 years
of age are eligible for school-nutrition programs as compared with one
in four (26%) who believe children 13 years and older are also eligible*.
In reality, one in six Canadian children goes to school hungry1 **. In 2013, funding from Breakfast for Learning and Breakfast Clubs of
Canada provided support for 355,000 children between the ages of 4 and
18 benefitting from school-nutrition programs coast to coast. The
average cost of a nutritious breakfast provided by these programs is
just under $2 according to Breakfast Club of Canada and Breakfast for Learning, Canada's two largest national organizations which combined helped
serve 56 million meals and snacks this school year.
On the good news front, despite the differences uncovered, the study
found agreement among Canadians in two important areas: 88 per cent
report they are inclined to help a charity if they know they are making
a difference and 89 per cent agree that even $1 or $2 can.
Tapping into these insights, the Grocery Foundation is set to launch its
Toonies for Tummies campaign which will see participating retailers in Ontario*** and Atlantic Canada*** collect funds February 6-20 with all proceeds going toward feeding
hungry children. This year's campaign: "Small change. Big change" aims to bring clarity to Canadians on the impact of a Toonie and their
ability to make a difference, namely: fill a tummy. Research confirms
even moderate under-nutrition (inadequate or sub-optimal nutrient
intake) can have lasting effects and compromise cognitive development
and school performance2 so the impact of each donation is both immediate and lasting.
A microsite (www.TooniesforTummies.ca) will enable consumers in Ontario to track their donations back to
local schools and, in Atlantic Canada, will showcase the organizations
involved in providing nutrition locally. This interactive platform
addresses another key finding from the survey: 87.5 per cent of
Canadians say they are inclined to give more to a charity if they know
where their donation is going.
A Facebook badge has also been created for consumers to upload to their
profile status during the campaign to call attention to the importance
of feeding Canadian children along with a video on the impact of a Toonie, highlighting that when it comes to hunger
and Canadian children, small change represents big change.
"Canadians know there is a need and that programs exist, but beyond
that, we've uncovered a black hole that we're intent on closing by
connecting Canadians to the local programs and kids in their community
who are making big strides enabled by a Toonie," says, Michelle Scott,
Executive Director of the Grocery Foundation.
"There has been a lot of recent dialogue about ensuring the wellness of
our children and mechanisms to protect their wellbeing including on the
Internet. This is vital and important work. It's equally vital that we
put the same degree of attention on the role of feeding their bodies
and fuel their minds. We must nurture the whole child and it's evident
Canadians see this as an important need."
FOOD INSECURITY FACTS:
In 2012 it was estimated that almost 2 million Canadians are living in
food insecure households. 3
The Impact of School Nutrition Programs:
Children who suffer from poor nutrition during the brain's most
formative years score much lower on tests of vocabulary, reading
comprehension, arithmetic, and general knowledge.4
Morning fasting has a negative effect on cognitive performance, even
among healthy, well-nourished children. A test of the speed and
accuracy of response on problem-solving tasks given to children who did
or did not eat breakfast found that skipping breakfast had an adverse
influence on their performance on the tests.5
Six-to eleven-year-old children from food-insufficient families had
significantly lower arithmetic scores and were more likely to have
repeated a grade. Families were classified as food-deficient if they
self-reported as sometimes or often not having enough food to eat. In
addition, food-insufficient teenagers were more likely to have been
suspended from school, and children in this category were more likely
to have seen a psychologist and to have experienced difficulty
interacting with their peers.6
About the Grocery Foundation:
The Grocery Foundation is an Ontario-based not-for-profit, representing leaders from Canada's
grocery industry. It was established in 1979 to enrich the lives and
wellbeing of children; providing them a hand up so they can learn and
succeed. To date the Grocery Foundation has raised in excess of $75
million which has gone towards over 250 organizations across the
province meeting a number of health and wellness needs including
providing nutritious breakfasts and snacks for school-aged students
across the province. Many Grocery Foundation companies and their
employees also work as volunteers alongside countless community groups
nourishing dreams, abilities and brighter futures. 2014 marks the 35th Anniversary of the Grocery Foundation. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter @GroceryFndtn and @Toonies4Tummies.
About the Survey:
A survey of 1505 Canadians was completed online between December 2 and
December 5, 2013 using Leger's online panel, LegerWebA probability
sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/- 2.5%, 19
times out of 20.
An infographic accompanies this release.
* Canada is currently the only G8 country without a national nutrition
program in schools. Nutrition programs that currently exist are funded
by sources including Breakfast for Learning and Breakfast Clubs of
Canada, whose funding supports universal programs where every child
within the school is eligible to attend.
** According to a 2011 report, Household Food Insecurity in Canada, household food insecurity affected one in every six children in
*** Participating stores in Ontario and Atlantic Canada:
Galati Market Fresh
Rabba Fine Foods
Sobeys and more than 100 independent stores across Ontario and Atlantic
Image with caption: "Survey confirms, tackling child hunger in Canada begins with closing the gap on what little Canadians know about this issue they agree is tied to our prosperity. Data confirms the significant impact of a Toonie on reading, writing and behaviour. (CNW Group/The Grocery Foundation)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140203_C6013_PHOTO_EN_36083.jpg
SOURCE: The Grocery Foundation
For further information:
Gabby Nobrega, Breakthrough Communications