Food pro­gram draws 2,032 schools

Half of chil­dren in scheme last year had lack of ac­cess to ad­e­quate nour­ish­ment

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

More than 2,000 Greek schools have ap­plied to join a pro­gram aimed at pro­vid­ing healthy food to all pupils this aca­demic year, ac­cord­ing to data made public yesterday.

The pro­gram, which is run by the In­sti­tute of Pre­ven­tive Medicine, En­vi­ron­men­tal and Oc­cu­pa­tional Health (Prolep­sis) in co­op­er­a­tion with the Niar­chos Foun­da­tion, was launched in 2012 when the so­cial im­pact of the eco­nomic cri­sis was in­ten­si­fy­ing and in­creas­ing num­bers of chil­dren were at­tend­ing school hun­gry.

Last year, half of the chil­dren that par­tic­i­pated in in the pro­gram were suf­fer­ing from a lack of ac­cess to enough food to en­sure a healthy life, also known as food in­se­cu­rity. In six out of 10 cases, only one of the child’s par­ents had an in­come, while in 15 per- cent of cases nei­ther did.

Athina Li­nou, the head of Prolep­sis, said 2,032 schools – 16 per­cent of all Greek state schools, rep­re­sent­ing some 250,000 pupils – have ap­plied to join the scheme this year. She de­scribed the sit­u­a­tion as “dra­matic.”

How­ever, Mar­garita Zota, the prin­ci­pal of a pri­mary school in Aghioi Anar­gy­roi, in western Athens, said things have im- proved over the past cou­ple of years. “The cases of faint­ing and stom­ach pains have stopped,” she said, adding that pre­vi­ously many chil­dren had at­tended school hun­gry.

Since April 2012, when the Di­a­trofi (Food) pro­gram was launched, 11 mil­lion meals have been served in about 450 schools to 75,000 pupils across the coun­try.

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