Social K - Our Company Blog

Serving Breakfast to Children in Need in Italy

One of the things that attracted me to Kellogg is the company’s commitment to producing food of high quality and helping people in need. When I started working for Kellogg three years ago, it was clear to me that this commitment is part of the company’s DNA, and it became even clearer when I learned about Breakfasts for Better Days, our global corporate social responsibility platform.

Breakfasts for Better Days is about donating food to people in need, volunteering our time, engaging stakeholders to participate in our campaigns and helping kids that struggle with chronic hunger. We accomplish this through Breakfast Clubs which are supported by Kellogg to provide kids in elementary schools with a free breakfast every morning before the lessons start. In Europe, the first Breakfast Clubs were opened in the United Kingdom almost 20 years ago. They later started to form in other European countries.

One of my first assignments at Kellogg was to open Italy’s first Breakfast Club. This was a real challenge for several reasons: Italian law, difficulties for a company to interact with the public school authorities, finding the right schools in the right cities and finding the right partner to help us run the project.

After almost a year of preparatory work, we officially opened our first Breakfast Club in Milan, together with the Italian Red Cross.

I thought I couldn’t be happier the day I received word from the Red Cross confirming that the first kids in Milan had received their free breakfast. But I was wrong. I was even happier and prouder when I went to visit the Breakfast Club in person. Arriving early that morning, I met the Red Cross volunteers and then together we waited for the kids to arrive. Approximately 40 kids arrived in dribs and drabs and it took quite a while to gather them all together, to check their names and finally guide them to the canteen where they would take their seats around the tables.

They were thrilled not only about having breakfast, but about being all together, spending time with new kids - different from their usual class mates - and they were also so curious to get to know the volunteers and other support staff. They couldn’t stop talking while they were eating! The time flew and the 45 minutes for breakfast passed as if it were just a minute. And this was only the beginning.

I began attending the Breakfast Club every Monday with some Kellogg employees to help the Red Cross serve breakfast to kids. Very soon I realized that Breakfast Club means a lot more than only serving food. For these kids it was the connection - the human touch - that gave them a great moment and a great start to their day. So we started to speak with these kids about their homework, the lessons, their hobbies, etc. We became friends. They asked us a lot of questions about our lives, our jobs and we also talked about breakfast habits, about what they do at home and the differences in comparison with what happens at school. All this information better helps us interact with them. It was also very useful for the teachers to better understand the kids and their needs.

We didn’t stop with Milan. With the help of the Red Cross we opened in May a new Breakfast Club in Turin in the North of Italy, and just this month, another one in Southern Italy. This latest Breakfast Club is also the largest one, serving 80 kids, and is located in an area where the economic situation is particularly challenging and families need a lot of help to feed their kids.

This project made me see more clearly that when it comes to helping people - in particular kids in need - it is not only a matter of how much food you give, but also how much time, passion and commitment you put in what you do. The kids we met in the schools are not only looking for food but for kind words, attention and for people willing to spend time with them. I am really proud of having contributed to help kids in need.

 

Sara Faravelli
Manager, Corporate Communications & PR, Kellogg Italy

Italian Breakfast Club