Calls made for School Meals Programme to continue during summer

Calls have been made for the extension of the School Meals Programme to allow it run across the summer months as families struggle with rising costs.

It comes as Cork charities say parents of children who relied on the Government-funded school lunches are now turning to soup kitchens to ensure their children get a hot meal during the summer holidays.

The hot school-meals programme was first rolled out in 2019 and has since being extended to over 1500 schools and now benefits 230,000 children.

Fears are rising that the demand for food from charities and soup kitchens will only grow over the Summer as primary school children are due to finish school in the next couple of weeks

Calls are being made on the Government to provide a subsidy for families of children relying on school dinners during the summer months.

Speaking to RedFM News Gerry Garvey of St Vincent de Paul says rising costs mean food poverty is affecting more people including those in employment and the extension of the school meals programme would be a big help:

“If that kind of programme could be continued, it would be great. I know it’ll be very challenging because it’s linked to schools, which are off during the summer months. I know that a lot of extra provision was done here locally in Cork last summer because of COVID where there was continued food parcels and some school meals provided on a drop off basis through the schools, so it is possible to be done. I think there’s a huge need for something like that to be done fairly soon. There would be a fear that some children will be literally undernourished and underfed during that period.”


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