Half of schoolchildren in poor areas face ‘food insecurity’

More than half of the children at Greek schools in deprived areas were suffering from a lack of access to enough food to ensure a healthy life, also known as food insecurity, at the start of the academic year in 2013, but this eased slightly thanks to donated meals.

According to the Institute of Preventive Medicine, Environmental and Occupational Health (Prolepsis), which runs the scheme at dozens of schools around the country, 54 percent of schoolchildren surveyed experienced food insecurity in September last year but this fell to 48 percent by the end of the academic year. The study found that 21 percent of children experienced food insecurity with hunger when the academic year started but this edged down to 18 percent by the summer.

Prolepsis is running the food donation program for a fourth year with the backing of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, which is the main sponsor. It has so far provided around 9 million school meals.

“It is not acceptable for any child to experience hunger problems,” said Prolepsis president Athina Linou. Some 150 schools are taking part in the program this year.