TWENTY-SEVEN Donegal schools are included in the Hot School Meals Programme 2021, which was announced today.
Nationwide, 35,000 pupils across 189 primary schools will benefit from the programme.
With pupils in 27 schools to avail of the programme, Donegal is second only to Dublin in the number of schools included per local authority.
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine and Donegal TD, Charlie McConalogue, welcomed the launch today by Minister Heather Humphreys TD.
Minister McConalogue said “This is a very important scheme for children in the 27 Donegal schools selected and will greatly benefit their wellbeing and ability to learn at school. I welcome the expansion of the scheme nationally in 2021.”
An additional €5.5 million has been secured for the extension of the Hot School Meals Programme to primary school pupils who had been availing of the cold lunch only.
Following expressions of interest and a selection process, 189 schools, including 171 DEIS schools, have been chosen.
The hot meals will be available to all pupils enrolled in the 189 primary schools, which do not have canteen/kitchen facilities on site.
The hot meal will replace the cold lunch which has been in place to date. Each school must identify a supplier who will supply (prepare and deliver) the hot meals in line with the relevant food safety regulations and in compliance with the Healthy Ireland ‘Nutrition Standards for Hot School Meals’.
Schools will be expected to provide a menu choice of at least two different meals per day plus a vegetarian/vegan option, as well as an option that caters for pupils’ religious and cultural dietary requirements.
The process of selecting the schools reflects a geographical spread across all local authority areas, taking into consideration pupil numbers, the level of interest and the available budget.
The Hot School Meals Programme is part of the overall School Meals Programme, which provides funding towards the provision of food to some 1,557 schools and organisations benefitting 227,000 children.