By Daniel Nazario, General Manager, Kellogg Caricam (Central America and the Caribbean)
I believe that all Kellogg employees have an inner spark that drives us to help others. Each one of us has had that one special person who was there for us in difficult times. So, how can we do the same for those in need in our communities?
I want to tell you a story that started as a dream and is now a reality: Better Days to Grow Together. Guatemala ranks first in Latin America and sixth in the world for childhood malnutrition rates. Consistent with Kellogg’s legacy and purpose, we decided that we had to do something to try to change this through our Better Days™ global purpose platform.
We had the idea and the desire to create a holistic social program that went beyond simply delivering food. Many brainstorming sessions later, we understood that when there is food insecurity, it would be beneficial to also provide education to help the families build long-term habits, such as nutrition education, gardening education, and opportunities for physical activity. In October, I had the opportunity to visit the Nueva Concepcion community in Acatenango. Girls and boys, wearing Kellogg® t-shirts, peeked out at us upon our arrival. Surrounded by coffee plantations, local families waited to show us their family gardens. Although the living conditions of these families are difficult, we witnessed their ability and creativity to face adversity. As they showed off their achievements from the program, their pride was evident!
It was then that I met María, a 14-year-old girl who takes care of her 3 little brothers. María cares for the garden that her family planted as a result of this program and accompanied her little brothers every 15 days to pick up supplies for their breakfasts and educational sessions. She is quiet, but the care and love for her family is obvious.
During this inspirational 6-month journey in which the program was in place, we also found that our own Kellogg employees wanted to be part of it. Approximately 50 people joined the Better Days to Growth Together by donating COVID-19 prevention kits and food supplies to complement what we were already donating. Through this volunteering opportunity we reached more than 100 families.
In November, I was able to return to the community, this time accompanied by some of the strategic allies that were part of this effort. During our visit we continued to witness the power behind this program and the great progress that continued to occur within the communities. We celebrated a very emotional closing event where we not only heard great stories from the families, but we also had the opportunity to give them the donations sent by our Kellogg employees and the consumers who participated in the in-store activations that supported the program.
During this visit we found functional and well-cared family orchards. We heard testimonies from women who told us how their sons and daughters notably improved their nutritional health. We met Mrs. Mónica, who has had problems with the weight of her youngest son since his birth, and she told us that he finally managed to gain weight thanks to the actions of the program and her commitment to incorporate that knowledge.
While proud of the number of people we reached through this program – 500 girls and boys from 285 families, 6,500 people in both communities – I’m most proud of the social impact we are leaving behind. I have no doubt that the skills these families learned will help create better days for everyone in their communities for years to come.