Funding for the School Meals Programme will continue throughout the summer holidays, Laois TD Sean Fleming has confirmed.
The objective of the scheme 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 school meals programme provides funding towards the provision of food to some 1,506 schools and organisations benefitting 230,000 children.
This programme which historically would have been confined to the school year has been extended over the summer holidays due to the effects of Covid-19.
Funding is also being made available to schools participating in the Department of Education’s School Based Education Programme which focuses on pupils with complex educational needs and at risk of education disadvantage.
Deputy Fleming said: “Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford last year led a successful campaign in the UK to extend free school meals over the summer holidays during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The player had personal experience of the system, having received free school meals whilst growing up in Manchester and this was a strong message which he included as part of his campaign.
“This helped raise the public consciousness of this scheme which is vital for so many families.
“I am very pleased that we are seeing the School Meals Programme being extended again this year.
“Each school can opt to provide a weekly or fortnightly food parcel for the child and this will provide a safety net for many families over the summer.
“I would like to thank all involved, the individual local groups and schools who operate the projects in their communities.”