The Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys, TD, has today confirmed that funding under the School Meals Programme will continue during the upcoming mid-term break.
Minister Humphreys said she wants to reassure parents and school authorities that this vital support for pupils will continue despite the break in the school calendar.
This will ensure that participating schools (primary and secondary) can provide food parcels benefiting thousands of pupils during this time.
While funding under the School Meals Programme is normally confined to the academic year, an exception is being made in light of Covid-19.
The mid-term break for secondary and primary schools occurs in the week 15th to 19th February inclusive.
The decision to continue to provide access to funding under the School Meals Programme during the mid-term break mirrors the arrangements that were in place during the school closures in 2020, including the Easter, Summer and Christmas school holidays.
During these periods, many schools in the School Meals Programme continued to provide food to pupils, largely through the home delivery of food parcels by suppliers.
The Department of Social Protection is currently contacting the schools involved with the School Meals Programme to advise them that the food parcels can continue over the mid-term break.
Minister Humphreys commented:
“The School Meals Programme is a vital support for many school-going children and their families. It is a scheme that I as Minister will continue to support vigorously.
“The funding for the School Meals Programme has continued to remain in place during the current period of school closures, similar to the arrangements that had been in place when schools were closed during the restrictions in 2020.
“I’m pleased today to announce that we will continue to provide funding during the upcoming mid-term break so that schools can continue to provide food parcels to their pupils.
“I would like to acknowledge the contribution being made by the schools participating in our School Meals Programme and their staff for their commitment to ensuring that the Programme continues during these very difficult times and helping to alleviate stress for pupils and parents.”
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Notes for Editors
The School Meals Programme provides funding towards the provision of food to some 1,557 schools and organisations benefitting 227,000 children. The objective of the Programme is to provide regular, nutritious food to children who are unable, due to lack of good quality food, to take full advantage of the education provided to them. The Programme is an important component of policies to encourage school attendance and extra educational achievement.
The total cost of the School Meals Programme for 2020 was €53.5 million and the allocation for 2021 is €65.1 million.