Kellogg Analyst Helps Students with Special Needs Design Inclusive Café Model
Kellogg’s strong community values were part of the reason Karla T., Human Resources Information Systems Shared Services Process Owner, decided to first join the company. “It really feels like a company that cares about its role in society and giving back. I’m really happy to be a part of this amazing company” she said.
When Karla moved back to Monterrey, Mexico, to be closer to her family, she quickly found the perfect opportunity to give back. Her younger sister, a student at a special needs high school, was working on a graduation project that required her and her classmates to create a plan for a small business, as well as a website.
Their team decided on an inclusive café that caters to people with special needs. “They told me, ‘we always try to get together, but there isn’t a place that is built for us’,” Karla explained. For their project, the students worked out the details of building a more inclusive space, including designing menus in braille and training workers to understand the different needs of people with disabilities. Karla designed the website for their project, but she says the students had a clear vision for their café, which they hope to one day make a reality.
“They are thinking about the future, because they are completely aware that they will not have their parents their whole life,” she said. “The students see the inclusive café model as a rare potential employment opportunity for people with special needs in a country that offers limited governmental support.”
There are also few, if any, cafes geared specifically toward customers with special needs in Mexico. “We hope we can get this done so it will be there for them in the future. And maybe be a new opportunity for Mexico too.” Karla’s sister and her classmates have graduated, and they are now working on ways to raise money for a café space in their free time.
For Karla, the project was a deeply fulfilling experience. “They helped me more than I helped them.” she said. She also hopes it will inspire more Kellogg employees to be proactive about volunteer opportunities. “We don’t have to wait for the company to present volunteer projects to us,” she said. “We can think about how we can help our own communities and our own families right now.”
Local Honor Flight Group Brings 1,000th Veteran to Washington D.C.
Bobbie B., a Customer Marketing Coordinator, has a passion for veterans and community service. When she first heard about Honor Flight, a non-profit that pays to fly veterans to Washington D.C., she knew she had to be involved.
In 2013 Bobbie, who is also the National Co-Chair of Kellogg’s KVets & Supporters business employee resource group, founded the Talons Out Honor Flight group. They now serve 13 counties across Michigan. In September, the group marked an exciting milestone when it made its fourteenth flight with their 1,000th veteran on board.
The 1,000th veteran to fly was a 100-year old Navy vet and a survivor of Pearl Harbor. It was his first time to visit the nation’s capital.
“Every veteran has an amazing story, and this one especially so,” said Bobbie.
She says that the vast majority of Honor Flight participants have never been to D.C. before, and to see the war memorials through their eyes is an incredible experience.
“Those aren’t just gold stars or names on those memorials, she said. “Those are their family and their friends. It’s hard for many of them and there are lots of tears. But it’s very therapeutic and it gives them closure and the ability to heal.”
She says her efforts with KVets & Supporters have aligned perfectly with her work with Honor Flight. KVets & Supporters members have been actively involved in the organization, some even serving as volunteers during flight days. “Honor Flight is a way of showing our veterans how much we appreciate them and, at KVets & Supporters, we are always looking outside the company to see what we can do to help the community.” Bobbie said.
“Our number one goal at KVets & Supporters is to hire veterans and to help them transition into civilian life. Our K Values and their military values are so interconnected, it makes them a wonderful fit for the company.”
Kellogg Japan Seeks To Boost Nutrition and Community Among Aging Population
With over 40% of the population expected to be over 65 by 2060, Japan has one of the largest senior populations in the world. The country is known for its longevity, and some areas boast the highest lifespans in the world. While this is a testament to the country’s commitment to health, these aging demographics also present major challenges.
Many elderly people live alone, raising concerns about the effects of isolation on their physical and mental health. Sadly, one in five Japanese aged 75 and older are considered malnourished.
In an effort to contribute to long-term solutions to these national problems, Kellogg Japan this year launched a senior nutrition program under its Breakfast for Better Days agenda. As part of the program, Kellogg is donating cereal products to community organizations around the country. The aim of the program is not only to provide nutritious meals for those in need, but also to create more opportunities for communal eating among the elderly.
Meals on Wheels Japan, one of the program partners, will provide Kellogg products as part of its signature meal delivery service to seniors living alone. Kellogg donations will also support 300 of the organizations’ Community Canteens, which gather children, the elderly and others in a communal setting for nutritious food and conversation.
Kellogg is also partnering with local governments on their community support programs. Prefectural Community Chests support over 60,000 giving programs every year, about one quarter of which target the elderly. Kellogg is providing cereal products to selected locations with elderly activity groups.
Overall, Kellogg Japan has donated $100,000 in the first year, aiming to deliver 100,000 servings of cereal at nearly 200 locations around the country.1
The program plans to create #BetterDays across Japan, not just by increasing the longevity of those days, but making them nutritious and happy. Seniors will engage in activities, get counseling, and work on leading a healthy and productive lifestyle as they age, together. Kellogg employees will engage with partners on the ground to bring the community together, serve and engage, and change behaviors on nutrition for thousands of people.
This work is supported by Kellogg Company Employees’ 25-Year Fund
Kellogg Partnership with Camion du Couer in Northern France
While major strides have been made in attacking the problem of hunger in Europe, there are still many people that remain vulnerable to food insecurity across the continent.
Since 2016, Kellogg France has partnered with Les Restaurants du Coeur, a French NGO focused on helping those in need with food donations and other social support programs for over thirty years. In 2017, and as part of the partnership, Kellogg provided financial donations to aid the renovation of a daycare center for homeless families in Limoges, France, including many single-parent families. The company has also made product donations and facilitated employee volunteers for annual donation events.
In 2018, Kellogg worked with the NGO to support the launch of a food donation truck, the first of its kind, in Laval, France. Le Camion du Coeur, or Truck of the Heart, makes three trips weekly around the region to provide balanced meals to people living on the street, many of whom are refugees of all ages from around the world. At each of the two designated stops, volunteers set up tables and chairs for the beneficiaries to enjoy their warm meals.
While the project initially faced skepticism from local leaders, it has been received warmly since it started in March of this year. And, by bringing food directly to those in need, the project helps reach people unable or unwilling to travel to fixed distribution and aid sites.
The Camion du Coeur project was so successful that Kellogg France is looking for new opportunities to help fund similar truck donation projects and also plans to extend its partnership with Les Restaurants du Coeur for another three years.
Over the last two years, Kellogg has donated more than 100 tons of food to the NGO and nearly 100 Kellogg employees have volunteered with the organization. Working with the NGO has allowed us to reach beyond the typical French family to nourish those in need.