Statistics show that 1 in 5 Canadian children are at risk of starting school on an empty stomach; but in the riding of Mississauga-Malton, which is home to 17 Fortune 500 companies, this is worse as often it is 2 in 5 or even 3 in 5 children. This was very disheartening for me and my staff, and I would like to change this with everyone’s help.

Our new student nutrition program — Fueling Healthy Minds — connects corporations to the community by giving them a chance to financially support schools with breakfast programs. This allows companies in Mississauga-Malton to be more conscious of the kind of effect they are having and to give back to the community.

This initiative bridges the gap between schools and companies in Mississauga-Malton and allows companies to adopt a school, a class, or a student to ensure that no child starts the school day hungry. Breakfast programs encourage welcoming environments, promote friendships and safe school communities as well as help reduce at-risk behaviour and absenteeism.

On April 25, we launched this program with a reception at our community office. We had principals and staff from Ascension of Our Lord CSS and Marvin Heights PS, the two schools that received donations, and CEO of MHI Canada Mike McCarthy and manager of TD Bank at Westwood Mall Inder Palial, the two corporate donors. Also present were Brian Hobbs from the Peel Learning Foundation, Peel District School Board Trustee Susan Benjamin and Andy Seto from YMCA of Greater Toronto.

“Having the support of MPP Anand and his team will allow us to make it possible for our students to get the best start to their day,” said Marvin Heights PS Principal Balneet Singh.

“I am a Malton boy, born and raised. Today, I am running a company of 900 employees right here in Malton. If we all did our part, there wouldn’t be a homeless problem and kids wouldn’t be going hungry in Canada,” said Mike McCarthy.

By performing their responsibility as leaders in our community, corporations can give back where it is needed most.

The community office of MPP Deepak Anand is located at 7895 Tranmere Dr., Unit 20. Public hours are Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Staff are always there to listen to concerns and ideas or help someone with a wish to volunteer and give back to the community.