SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010 ;e Costco Connection 59 Costco employees pitch in to make sure every breakfast counts By Wendy Helfenbaum IN THE WEE MORNING hours Costco em- ployees from Quebec and Alberta gathered this summer at local elementary schools to serve healthy breakfasts to children. Some went out of curiosity, to see first-hand where the money they help raise each year for Breakfast Clubs of Canada (BCC) goes. Others signed on because they love kids. And while cutting up fresh fruit, preparing pancakes and filling cups with milk, these employees discovered that serving a nutritious meal to grateful children is also an investment in their future success. Modelled after the Quebec Breakfast Club, founded in 1994 by Daniel Germain, BCC was launched in 2005 and currently pro- vides services, funding, start-up equipment and support for community-based breakfast programs in 1,250 schools nationwide. BCC also supplies nutrition and self-esteem train- ing while promoting healthy partnerships between schools and their communities. Each fall Costco hosts a national fund- raising campaign for BCC; last year members raised $522,000 through the sale of paper icons. The 2010 campaign runs from August 30 to September 6. (For more information about BCC, visit www.breakfastclubscanada.org.) Team spirit In LaSalle, Quebec, Costco warehouse manager Steven Simoneau performed magic tricks, making breakfast sandwiches appear and disappear, while his colleagues Martine Bouthillier, Sophie Gaudreau and Alain Fournier helped prepare meals for 80 students. “I don’t think people realize the impor- tance of kids going hungry, and I wanted to see how the breakfast club helps these children,” says Fournier, a Costco photo lab manager. “I was expecting lots of chaos, but it was quite the opposite. You could almost hear their tummies growl; everybody waited their turn. We were surprised to see such grown-up little people.” Fournier plans to continue volunteering on his own time. “People at the school were telling us that they see a huge difference in children from the beginning of the school year to the end: They enjoy themselves more and o better in school.” Customer service manager Anik Morrissette adds that BCC is “something close to my heart. A high school student showed us how everything worked, and it was heart- warming to see how passionate he was about his program.” In Edmonton, membership and market- ing manager Trevor Holcek flipped pancakes for more than 100 kids with his co-worker, assistant front-end manager Jackie DeBoer. “The amount of enthusiasm and commitment he vice-principal and other volunteers had for the program was very inspiring,” says Holcek. “At our store, we’re proud of the fundraising we’ve done, but you don’t really think about ON JANUARY 12, 2010, the small country of Haiti was hit with a cata- strophic magnitude 7.0 earthquake. More than 200,000 people died and more than 1 million were left home- less. Costco members chipped in and raised more than $2 million of the $194 million raised across Canada for the Canadian Red Cross. “Time and time again Canadians have given generously to help those devastated by disasters,” says Kimberley Nemrava, British Columbia director of the Canadian Red Cross. “The response to the earthquake in Haiti is no different, and Canadians hould know that their compassion is providing tangible aid to millions of people in Haiti. On behalf of the Canadian Red Cross, I would like to thank Costco members and staff for supporting this response and ensur- ing our work is possible to provide help and hope to Haitians shattered by this disaster.” With the aid of the money raised, the Red Cross was able to get sup- plies to 350,000 Haitians, help 80,000 families find shelter and distribute 1. 8 million litres of water daily. —Stephanie E. Ponder Help for Haiti where the money is going. After being there, we’re going to do even more this fall.” Making a long-term difference BBC hopes to implement another 100 full- service programs by the end of the 2011 school year to reach 200,000 children nationwide, says BCC’s communications adviser, David Lussier. This year, BCC began offering long-term initiatives designed to help programs develop and become more sustainable. Last year, BCC signed three-year agreements with 20 schools Red Cross volunteer Ralph Toussaint helps out at Camp Simon, Port-au- Prince, Haiti. breakfast bar Raising the
Breakfast Clubs of Canada runs
programs in more than 1,200 schools
across the country.
CANADIAN RED CROSS