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Despite many nutritionists considering that breakfast is the most important meal of the day in assisting a child's development and helping maintain a healthy weight, research has found that up to 40 per cent of Australian school children regularly skip breakfast.
Since 1991, the Red Cross Good Start Breakfast Club program has positively influenced the eating habits of children and assisted communities in changing attitudes towards nutrition by providing free healthy breakfasts and nutrition education at primary schools in areas of greatest need, along with food budgeting workshops to children, parents and communities.
Proudly supported by Coles, the program currently operates in more than 260 schools across Australia and serves around 5,000 children each school day. Since 2006, support from Coles and its customers has enabled Red Cross to provide over 2.75 million breakfasts to school children across Australia with more than 800,000 healthy breakfasts being served each year.
Shaun Hazeldine, National Manager of the Good Start Breakfast Club, said the program has had an amazing impact across the country, and acknowledged Coles for helping to ensure that children at participating schools get a good start.
"We have found that there are a number of children in disadvantaged areas who are not beginning the day with a healthy breakfast however, this trend is not confined to such areas. Families across Australia who are time poor in the morning are turning to breakfast alternatives that don't provide children with the nutritional requirements to lead an active lifestyle," Mr Hazeldine said.
"The Good Start Breakfast Club program is committed to working to improve nutrition education amongst all families, and our partnership with Coles has enabled the program to become the largest of its kind in Australia."
He said that Red Cross research found more than 70 per cent of teachers indicated an improvement in sustained concentration from children who ate breakfast, while an improvement in social behaviours such as friendliness to other students, politeness, and helpfulness was also observed.
Ian McLeod, Coles Managing Director, said the business was proud to support a worthwhile initiative that recognised the importance of healthy eating for children.
"This is a tremendous program that's making a real difference in the lives of children across Australia. We're delighted to support the Red Cross as they help build the next generation of healthy Australians," Mr McLeod said.
Proceeds raised from the Coles Cereal Challenge will support the continued delivery of the Good Start Breakfast Club program and additionally provide 100 nutrition education workshops, as well as physical activity days nationwide.
Mantra Group, one of our National Loyalty Partners, is a generous supporter of our Good Start Breakfast Club program.
"When I visited a Good Start Breakfast Club in Darwin, I was amazed at the work Red Cross do and it was an honour to witness how the funds raised by all our Team Members are being used," says CEO Bob East.
"The benefits are obvious for the kids involved. With a full stomach following a nutritious breakfast, their ability to learn and concentrate during the day is greatly enhanced.
"Beyond all of this, Red Cross' involvement with schools, parents and community leaders is a great example and a powerful guiding force of how people can work together to provide a positive future for others."
"In our first year as a Red Cross National Loyalty Partner, our organisation Mantra Group has provided financial support to the Red Cross Good Start Breakfast Club program. This program offers daily healthy breakfasts and nutritional education to school children in areas of greatest need around Australia," says CEO Bob East.
"Partnering with Red Cross has provided an opportunity to demonstrate our responsibility and commitment to the communities in which we operate.
"Our tailored national partnership is delivering tangible outcomes for our business including achievement of corporate and brand building objectives. Staff engagement opportunities are also a benefit.
"For instance, our Team Members and Leadership team have the opportunity to witness our support first-hand at a Good Start Breakfast Club. When I visited a Good Start Breakfast Club in Darwin, I was amazed at the work Red Cross do and it was an honour to see how the funds raised by all our Team Members are being used.
"We're really proud of the work we're doing with Red Cross and look forward to further developing this relationship."