POVERTY-STRICKEN children in Spain often depend on school canteens to get a hot meal but it is not clear whether the service will be provided during the summer.
Even though Spanish Ombudswoman Soledad Becerril asked Autonomous Communities to open their school canteens during the summer season, there is no general agreement yet.
Andalucia, Canarias, Catalonia, Aragon and the Balearic Islands announced that their schools will keep feeding impoverished children during the holidays, while schools in the Valencian Community, Murcia, Navarra, Galicia, Madrid, Cantabria, Basque Country and Castile will not.
Some of them have opted for another alternative: their summer schools will be used to give out meals to the children. Others, however, have given their local councils the option of opening the schools to feed poor children should they deem it necessary.
Andalucia’s Regional Government guarantees meals to 4,500 children through its summer schools network, in addition to entertainment and sports activities. These schools are located in neighbourhoods with larger populations at risk of social exclusion and have a budget of €1.6 million.
Following the request of Spain’s Ombudswoman, Madrid authorities said “there is no child malnutrition problem” in the autonomous community. They will therefore not make it mandatory for school canteens to open during the summer and the decision has to be made by every local council.
Schools in Catalonia have been authorised to open six hours a day from Monday to Friday to organise educational and leisure activities for children and to offer them two meals a day. More than 2,000 children under 17 will benefit from the initiative, according to regional government sources.