Amid reports that many school children are going hungry, students will soon be able to join a European Union-subsidized program to provide milk to pupils on a daily basis, the newspaper Kathimerini reported.
Greek schools don’t provide lunches for students, who have to buy goods out of vending machines or at canteens out of their own pockets and many are unable to afford it as the government has cut salaries, raised taxes and slashed pensions, pushing 20 percent of the population into poverty.
Schools will be able to lodge their applications to join the program at the beginning of each academic year, according to the Agricultural Development and Food Ministry. The institutions whose participation is approved will have to keep an account of the quantity and price of the milk procured to ensure there is no profiteering, according to sources.
Last year, UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, said Greece’s economic crisis was so bad that it was especially affecting the young, who were at risk of malnutrition and psychological harm. A report drafted by UNICEF’s Greek committee and the University of Athens said that 439,000 children were living below the poverty line – underfed and in unhealthy – in families that represent 20.1% of Greek households.