Eat well and send a migrant kid to school

Eat well and send a migrant kid to school

Shanghai dining institution Element Fresh teams up with Roots & Shoots so its patrons can eat for a good cause
Shanghai migrant students
Roots & Shoots is making sure that as many of Shanghai's 400,000-plus migrant students have a chance to succeed.

More often than not, membership cards are more hype than action.

Want that free flight? You’ll have to travel for years before earning enough to get across the country. Want to redeem your points? Wait, they’ve already expired.

Element Fresh is doing their part for Shanghai in a program that allows its members to redeem their loyalty points by helping the local community. 

By teaming up with Roots & Shoots, the China-based chapter of the Jane Goodall Institute, Element Fresh patrons can use the points they accrue while eating there to do everything from planting a tree in Inner Mongolia (500 points) to fight deforestation, to buying a pair of glasses for a child of a migrant worker (1,500 points) or sponsoring a year of school tuition for a child of Shanghai migrant workers (15,000 points).

If you eat enough to sponsor a child's tuition -- which is a serious amount of food -- Roots & Shoots provides information about the student you’re supporting, the school and the child’s progress.

More on CNNGo: Giving Shanghai's migrant kids a better start

“Roots & Shoots combines the passion of a local charity with the effectiveness of an established organization, being a part of the Jane Goodall Institute. That is why we have been supporting Roots & Shoots for some years in a number of ways,” says Element Fresh founder Scott Minoie.

“We then thought it would be a good idea to bring our customers into this, offering them a chance to use their Element Fresh points to help others. The response continues to be great, and support for Roots & Shoots causes is one of the most popular items for which points are redeemed.” 

Through the program, 45 migrant students have been able to afford school fees in Shanghai, while over 3,500 local migrant children at four schools in Shanghai have also received other support through the program including much-needed glasses and hygiene sets.

Shanghai’s current migrant worker population exceeds 6 million people, of which around 400,000 are registered migrant children, none of whom, until last year, were allowed into Shanghai's public school system. 

Although the Element Fresh partnership with Roots & Shoots is far from the only program in Shanghai to support the city’s ever-growing migrant student population, it might just be the easiest one to take part in and one of the least reported on -- just order that second cup of coffee at brunch.

For more information about Roots & Shoots' work with Shanghai’s migrant student population, contact Catharine Gong at

To redeem Element Fresh points for the Roots & Shoots programs, visit the points page.