ATHENS – Despite aid from the Diaspora to help suffering Greeks during a crushing economic crisis, more than half of the children at Greek schools in deprived areas don’t have enough food.
Donated meals are easing the problem somewhat but Greece has a notoriously poor reputation for philanthropy – its own word – and many young students are going without while the rich are prospering.
According to the Institute of Preventive Medicine, Environmental and Occupational Health (Prolepsis), which runs the donated food program 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 what’s called “food insecurity” – it means going hungry – when the academic year started but this edged down to 18 percent by the summer.
Prolepsis is running the 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 but hasn’t gotten any support from other charitable organizations or the country’s many rich.
“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.