The acting Minister of Health, Consumption and Social Welfare, María Luisa Carcedo, has said that the government will allocate 15 million euros to benefit 100,000 children in conditions of vulnerability, an increase from 2018 of 5 million which will reach 34,000 more children.
The Minister explained that the VECA Program offers children and adolescents from disadvantaged families a guarantee of healthy and balanced nutrition during the summer period, which is not covered by the meals they receive during the school term. It also allows them to participate in leisure, cultural and training activities that their families could not otherwise afford.
She said that, according to the survey on living conditions, just over 6% of children in Spain are in a situation of severe material deprivation, which translates into malnutrition or an unbalanced diet that “decisively affects their health” and “has made obesity one of the most important public health problems”.
The VECA program will provide access to food checks during the summer to families who have already been awarded free school meals during the course and will reinforce the funding of recreational, cultural and educational activities in cities and municipalities to include these vulnerable children and guarantee them breakfast, lunch and, eventually, dinner.
The minister stressed the importance of the measures of the VECA program to break “the circle of disadvantages” that surrounds children in situations of need and at risk of exclusion: “To live in a democracy that we can qualify as quality, it is necessary that all children have the same opportunities.” In addition, she reiterated that the protection of children and the fight against child poverty are a priority for the current government.