When the volume goes up at home and suddenly there are tears and wailing, I always know exactly how to fix it. I think pretty much every mother does. There is something about hunger, particularly in very small people, that ramps up the hysteria at almost breakneck speed. After years of home educating I know that you can’t get anything done with children who haven’t had breakfast – and in our house “elevenses” were an essential punctuation point of the morning – as were “threeses” (there is a spelling conundrum if ever I saw one!) So long as they weren’t hungry and had had some of the right sort of calories at the right time (I think we’ve all made the chocolate midnight feast snack error at some point in our life) we could get through a day pretty well. At nursery, Bene’s day is a string of small meals interspersed with play opportunities, purely to keep enough fuel inside the little people that the wailing doesn’t start. Let’s face it, which of us adults works well on a hungry tummy? I know it isn’t me.
I know a lot of teachers who have told me, over the years, of children who go to school hungry and teachers who dip in to their own pocket to make sure the rumbling tummies are kept at bay for the poorest or most neglected children. Shockingly, 1 in 7 children in the UK miss out breakfast entirely, either through family difficulty in providing it or a lack of understanding that it is required; some just don’t get breakfast offered because they aren’t being cared for in a way that means their needs are paramount.
Without breakfast, learning and behaviour suffers and a cycle of poverty and missing education rolls on to another generation; 2.4 pupils in every class in England and Wales will arrive at school hungry at least once a week. That equates to 70% of a term of education lost over the course of an education, lost to some of the children who most need the security and consistency of that preparation for life. And the impact reaches out through the class as teachers try to control and engage hungry kids, pulling them away from working with children who are ready and able to learn.
Kellogg’s Breakfast for Better Days Campaign will provide a 30g serving of cereal for every one of the specially marked packs purchased, which will provide half a billion breakfasts worldwide to help children and families facing hunger and food insecurity by the end of 2016. This will help to combat the average food bill rising by £357 by the end of 2017. 15 million of those breakfasts and snacks will be distributed in the UK in the form of grants to school breakfast clubs, breakfast programmes and food donations to food banks such as those run by the Trussell Trust. In addition, Kellogg’s charity partners FareShare and His Church will distribute packs of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes and Rice Krispies to Breakfast Clubs, Food Banks and community projects all over the UK and Ireland.
Disclosure: Sponsored by Kellogg’s.