Feeding young minds in Brazil
At General Mills, one of our key philanthropic focus areas is to end hunger by increasing food security. We strive to accomplish this by expanding access to and improving school meal programs so that all children in need are well-nourished and ready to learn.
According to Instituto Melhores Dias (IMD), childhood malnutrition is a serious problem in Brazil, where our Yoki brand of popcorn, tea, snack food and side dishes, is produced. And we know that strengthening school meals programs is one of the most effective ways that we can help to reduce childhood hunger and malnutrition.
General Mills and Yoki have partnered with IMD, a Brazilian nonprofit organization, since 2016, in support of its “Healthy Children, Healthy Futures” program.
For children from impoverished communities, the school meal is often the most substantial meal of the day. IMD partners with schools to improve the quality of life of children and their communities by increasing awareness about nutrition and food security, as well as gardening and healthy lifestyles.
Our partnership with IMD has made a difference in the lives of Brazilian schoolchildren by providing nourishing school meals and holistic school-based programs, like gardens at school and at students’ homes. Thanks to a renewed partnership in 2018, the program has been able to double in scope, and now serves 124,000 Brazilian schoolchildren at 304 schools every day.
Because of these nutrition programs, anemia levels among children in these communities have decreased by as much as 66 percent in less than two years.“We are absolutely delighted by the huge success of our partnership with Instituto Melhores Dias. Ensuring that children are well-nourished at school not only reduces hunger and improves nutrition, but also strengthens their ability to succeed in school,” says Louise Iverson, senior program manager of the General Mills Foundation. “This program is changing lives for children in Brazil.”
The partnership also provides a unique opportunity for General Mills employees to roll up their sleeves and volunteer their time with IMD programs at local schools.
“The support from the General Mills Foundation has been fundamental to improving nutrition and creating opportunities at schools and communities in Brazil,” says Dr. Joyce Capelli, president of IMD. “Instituto Melhores Dias has been able to impact the lives of many Brazilian children through an integrated health and education program, focused on developing a culture of nutritionally heathy habits in these communities.”
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