Kiel is not a chef. But this morning, he is making breakfast for 50 hungry mouths. On the menu: pancakes, yoghurt and fruit juice.
It doesn’t take long for every last morsel of food to disappear into hungry stomachs. After the last bit of syrup is mopped up by fluffy pancake, the satisfied diners are ready to start their day.
Despite what you might think, Kiel does not work in the culinary industry. Rather, he is a Land, Community, and Aboriginal Relations Liaison for TransCanada’s Coastal GasLink Pipeline Project. This week, a new partnership between TransCanada and Breakfast Club of Canada (the Club) brought him to Ron Brent Elementary school in Prince George, B.C. to celebrate the launch of the school’s breakfast program.
“TransCanada has been engaging with communities in northern B.C. for the past two years about our proposed pipeline projects and we’ve consistently heard that education and literacy are important for this region,” explains Kiel. “A good breakfast is so important to start the day off right. By partnering with Breakfast Club of Canada, we can help provide kids with the energy they need to learn and enable them to become life-long learners.”
Founded in Quebec in 1995, the Club now operates in over 1,300 schools across Canada and provides breakfast to approximately 150,000 children each and every school day. Breakfast Club of Canada’s President and Founder, Daniel Germain, believes finding a solution to end child hunger is everyone’s business. He makes sure that vulnerable children who participate in the programs receive two essential elements for growth and learning: a nutritious breakfast and an environment that fosters a positive self-esteem.
The Breakfast Club draws its strength from thousands of donors, partners, volunteers, staff and regional agencies that are committed to fostering child development and academic success. Despite the Club’s efforts, the number of vulnerable children arriving to school on an empty stomach is steadily increasing, as does the breakfast program wait list.
Such is the case at Ron Brent Elementary, which has some of the highest vulnerability indicators in the province of British Columbia. Carmen Eberle, the school’s principal, applied to receive the breakfast program in June 2012. The school, like more than 400 others throughout the country, was placed on a waiting list until additional financial support from corporate donors became available.
During the summer of 2014, Eberle received the good news; funding by TransCanada would allow Ron Brent and three other northern B.C. schools (Evelyn Dickson Elementary in Vanderhoof, Thornhill Primary in Terrace and Port Edward Elementary in the District of Port Edward) to participate in the Club’s program this fall.
Funding from the company allowed Ron Brent Elementary to purchase the equipment needed to run a breakfast program including a refrigerator, dishwasher, conveyor toasters, cutlery, plates, glasses and more. It also allows the school to serve up a well-balanced breakfast at the start of each and every school day.
Eberle however understands that the Club’s breakfast program leads to much more than the purchase of equipment and food.
“We’ve noticed that a proper breakfast improves school attendance, increases children’s ability to concentrate and reduces disruptive behaviours,” says Eberle. “Offering a breakfast program is also a great opportunity for our staff to build a rapport with students. Students who trust you will come to you for help when needed.”
Thanks to TransCanada’s partnership with Breakfast Club of Canada, 210 students a day will receive breakfast in northern British Columbia. That is equivalent to 34,440 breakfasts over the course of a typical school year.
“TransCanada has approximately $12-billion in proposed pipeline projects that will support B.C.’s emerging liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry,” explains Tony Palmer, senior vice-president, Stakeholder Relations at TransCanada Corporation. “We are pleased to support four schools on Breakfast Club of Canada’s waiting list – one from each regional district in our northern BC project area that had a school on the waiting list.”
“We are thrilled to be able to launch this program at Ron Brent Elementary,” says Josee Desjardins, senior director Western Canada, Breakfast Club of Canada. “Because of TransCanada’s commitment, The Club is able to open four new breakfast programs this year in northern B.C., and we cannot thank them enough for their generous support.”
Check out some of the recent media coverage about TransCanada’s partnership with Breakfast Club of Canada by clicking on the links below.
Learn more about TransCanada’s exciting partnerships similar to this one.