At present, students of years 1 to 4 can have free lunches at school, as well as those with disadvantaged status, while the catering of other pupils depends on each municipality.
"In the current situation, not all families are able to properly track all the increases and all possibilities for requesting assistance individually, nor are local authorities able to deal with individual applications for assistance in a timely manner. [..] Certainly the costs of eating at schools have increased, it seems to me that it would be rational, without valuing the income of families, to grant this catering support to obvious risk groups,” said Elīna Treija, head of the Latvian Association of Multi-Child Families.
She urged local governments not to waste resources by sorting out families in low-income, poor, multi-child families or by any other parameters, but instead to feed all children.
There are municipalities that have already chosen this path. One of these is Balvi municipality. It has been decided there to cater to all pupils in years 5 to 12 for municipal money because it has proved that there are very few families who are not eligible for any relief. The head of the Balvi municipality said he was aware that for many children, school food was the only warm and guaranteed meal a day.
There are different situations in different municipalities, and as the Association of Multichild Families has identified, whether or not a local authority decides to grant free lunch to all children depends on whether it is a municipality called rich or not.
The Latvian Association of Multi-Child Families has compiled information provided by local governments on where catering for children of multi-child families is paid, and the situation varies: one municipality pays 100%, another – 80%, another – 50%; others choose to feed only children of poor or disadvantaged families.