Providing a school meal to children and teenagers in crisis situations

In a nutshell

Many children are dependent on the daily meal offered in kindergartens and schools. In situations of crisis this service may be stopped so there is a need to have alternative solutions to provide the daily meal to avoid child hunger. This tool explains in 4 steps how to organize alternative solutions to school meals.

Necessary Steps

To elaborate the effective system of providing school meals for kids in crisis you have to take four necessary steps:

Step 1. Get an overview of the situation.

Before you start to act, try to evaluate the problems. First, identify the children in your institution that suffer from the crisis. Think widely. Situation of crisis can be ex. long-term illness, difficult family situations, sudden problems, parent's death or other critical incidents like the COVID-19 lockdown. Remember, the school meal can be the one and only main meal for the child during the day. Try to name current needs, make a list of them, make a calculation of costs.

Step 2. Identify your resources.

Try to evaluate resources you already have access to in your closest environment to help kids in crisis. Make a list of resources you have on command (ex. some budget for situations of crisis, food surplus) and means that you have access to (ex. networks for collaboration – relevant NGOs, organizations of volunteers, list of food delivery companies). Consider resources in your environment in a wide perspective.

Step 3. Make an action plan.

Remember, the action plan has to be flexible. It should be altered, when the situation changes. That is why you have to monitor and modify your plan, according to the changing needs and resources. Make an agreement about the action points (what needs to be done and by whom), the responsibilities and follow-ups. Assess what activities you can do using your own resources and when you would need help, for example from volunteers or food delivery companies.

Step 4. Manage your action plan

You can update it and make adjustments, according to the needs and resources. Make sure that the kids you take care of are satisfied and properly provided for.

More Issues To Consider

When kids in crisis can’t go to school and have the school meal, you can prepare food packages or take-away meals for them (packed). Then, deliver the food with volunteers or a company that is specialized in food delivery. Food packages should contain products with long shelf-life. Make sure that the food package has some recipes to prepare at least one or few dishes.

This is an example of food package, that can be used to prepare five dishes:

  • Lentil soup with carrots and tomatoes
  • Pasta with Bolognese sauce and lentils
  • Rice or millet groats with apples, cinnamon and cream
  • Barley soup
  • Chickpeas and millet burgers with potatoes and beets

Ingredients: lentils 400g, 1 can of tomatoes, rice 400g, millet groat 400g, barley 400g, Bolognese sauce 1 jar, 4-5 apples, 1 mirepoix (carrots, parsley, leek, celery), 2 onions, beets 1 kg, potatoes 1 kg, oil 500 ml, UHT cream 18% 250 ml, cinnamon, 1 can of chickpeas.

Further Information

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