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Hot School Meals Programme extended St Pauls National School in Waterford City

Updated: Dec 7, 2021

The Hot School Meals Programme will be extended 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: “As part of Budget 2021, my Fine Gael colleague Minister Heather Humphreys provided an additional €5.5 million for the extension of the Hot School Meals with effect from January to 35,000 primary school children who had been availing of the Department’s School Meals Programme which provided cold lunch options only.

“This week’s announcement will see a further DEIS schools across the country benefitting from hot school meals and is an additional €3million investment which will see the Hot School Meals Programme significantly expanded to 16’000 pupil who would have previously only been offered a cold lunch option.”

In further good news said Senator Cummins,” 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.

“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.

It also leads to better educational outcomes and an improvement in the overall wellbeing of our children. As Minister, I am delighted to see this programme extended so that thousands more children and their families can benefit.”

She concluded by saying “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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