Hot School Meals Programme extended to Waterford school
The Hot School Meals Programme will be extended to an additional primary school in Waterford, a Fine Gael Senator has said.
St. Pauls Boys National school will now be added to the DEIS schools who already avail of the programme.
Senator John Cummins said:
“The Covid-19 pandemic has presented everyone with many challenges over the year and half including our schoolchildren here in Waterford and especially those who would previously have come to school each morning without a breakfast.
“The Hot Meals Programme is a major initiative to encourage school attendance when schools are open, when schools are closed and when classes are held virtually.
“This initiative will consequently facilitate better educational outcomes by the schoolchildren and help tackle the issue of education disadvantage.”
Senator Cummins continued to say that as part of Budget 2021, Minister for Justice Heather Humphreys has provided an additional €5.5m for the extension of the Hot School Meals programme which will come into effect in January 2022.
This will provide 35,000 primary school children who had been availing of the department's school meal programme which only provided cold lunch options.
In further good news Senator Cummins said:
"Budget 2022 is providing for the Hot School Meals to be extended from January 2022 to the 81 DEIS schools that submitted an expression of interest but were not selected in the extension to 35,000. Schools will be expected to provide a menu choice of at least two different meals per day plus a Vegetarian/Vegan and an option that caters for students’ religious and cultural dietary requirements.”
“The funding for the School Meals Programme throughout the entire school terms and holidays offers a security for many vulnerable of schoolchildren by ensuring that participating schools in Waterford can provide food boxes benefiting pupils during this time.”
Making the announcement earlier this week Minister Humphreys commented “I am really pleased today to announce an extension of the Hot School Meals Programme to 81 DEIS schools across the country.
Minister Humphreys said receiving a hot meal in the middle of the day is so important for nutrition but also for a child’s mental and physical wellbeing adding it also leads to better educational outcomes and an improvement in the overall wellbeing of children.
She concluded by saying that the Hot School Meals Programme was initially launched on a pilot basis in 2019, serving 37 schools and some 6,600 primary school pupils. This extension means that over 55,000 primary school pupils will now benefit from a hot meal each day.
"I hope that we can see further progress in the coming months that will result in future expansions of this really important programme once again.”
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