A story published in the newspaper Eleftherotypia this week reveals a hidden tragedy unravelling for an increasing number of school children. According to the report, the number of students, as well as adults, who are malnourished due to the financial crisis, is growing dramatically. In an effort to support those hit hard, church, municipal and autonomous solidarity groups try to provide proper meals for those that the crisis has left in a state of starvation.

“Reports from teachers and parents associations inform us that there are children starving in certain Athens schools and the numbers are increasing dramatically every day. We manage to cover some of their needs in collaboration with the Athens Municipal Creche (DVA), which provides schools with supplementary meals,” said Yiorgos Apostolopoulos, president of the Athens Homeless Foundation.
DVA has recently received requests for sending 40-50 meals in kindergartens and primary schools of the fifth municipal department, in upper and lower Patisia and Grava. The Creche already sends food to elementary schools and kindergartens in some downtown districts, such as Metaxourgio, Plato Academy, Kolonos, Votanikos, Strefi Hill and Thisio, whilst at the same time it is supplying with meals and municipal nurseries.

“The Athens Municipal Creche can feed hundreds of people. This is the answer to hunger. That is why we as a party ask for the support of its 1600 employees. Consumption in school canteens has been reduced by 30-40 percent,” stressed to the newspaper Petros Konstantinou, a municipal advisor with the Antarsya party.
In some areas the number of malnourished children is estimated to one-two per classroom, for instance in the suburb of Petralona, where unemployment is over 20 per cent.
The Second Municipal Elementary School of Petroupoli created a solidarity fund in 2011, supplying food to children and families.

“We demand a change of government policy, not compassion,” stressed Dimitris Kontos, vice-president of the Athens Parents and Guardians Federation.
Meanwhile, the Archdiocese of Athens, provides ten thousand meals or food packs every day in 75 different locations in the city. In the rest of Greece, the church distributes over 300 thousand meals daily.

People using the church’s soup kitchens has increased by 35-40 per cent in the last year.
“Since the summer, the number of immigrants attending our soup kitchens has shrunk, while that of Greeks has increased. Many elderly people give their pension to their children and they resort to the soup kitchens for their daily dietary needs. Some aged who were put in nursing homes are now being taken out by their children, in order for them to collect their pension. From the coming year the Family Support Centre of the Archdiocese will launch a registration service for malnourished children in schools. In a discreet way they will be offered some food, so that the children can then take some of this, back to their family. We know that if a child is starving, so is the rest of the family,” said Mary Pini, the Centre’s director.

Source: Athens News