Thousands of children in the province of Alicante, who suffer from social exclusion, are able to eat at least once a day thanks to the food provided at their school canteens, where they receive the daily school dinner for free.
In the summer months, however, outside the school term, many of these children continue to attend summer schools arranged by town councils. Although there are many different events and activities the one common thread is that they all continue to provide lunchtime meals.
However, this service will cease to function in many locations at the end of July, so that during the month of August and the first half of September, many children who belong to families with little or no income will no longer receive that one main meal of the day.
The Department of Equality has allocated some aid for municipalities, but this grant does not cover all needs. As a result many municipalities have had to use their own funds to care for these children. And that is where the differences begin, since each locality has planned their programme according to their criteria and their needs, so that there will be many children who do not receive the same treatment, depending on where they live.
In Elche there are currently summer schools operating in 38 centres, five more than last year, in all of which children are provided with lunch. They are organised by Education and Social Welfare, with the support of AMPAs. Social Welfare will provide food for 300 children in July, and in August they will provide families with food stamps.
In Torrevieja the Summer Schools are open during July and August in two schools. They run from 8.30 to 15.30, with a dining service. Social Services sources have commented that in July there are 160 children and in August, there are currently 120 children who have enrolled 120. Vacancies can still be applied for, including the lunch grant.