Greece’s persistent economic crisis has led to an increase in unemployment and wage cuts, which in turn appears to have resulted in increased household food insecurity and difficulty in feeding students in socioeconomically vulnerable areas. In an effort to combat the mounting problems, the Prolepsis Institute, with the support of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, designed the Program on Food Aid and Promotion of Healthy Nutrition which later took the name DIATROFI, meaning 'nutrition'.
The program was designed with a vision to fill a twofold objective: to provide all students in the participating schools with a free, healthy and nutritious meal every day and to encourage the adoption of healthy eating habits for both the students and their families.
The project was piloted during the April-June 2012 quarter in 34 schools, with 6,272 students in total.
After careful evaluation of the pilot phase, the program was approved to continue for a second school year (2012-2013), during which 162 schools, with a total of 25,349 students, took part.
The total number of meals as well as pieces of fruit that were distributed until May 2013 was 2,564,376. During the same period, a total of 1,379,419 cartons of milk and 86,731 cans of yogurt were provided to the students.
To minimize the risk of stigmatization for students and their families, it was decided that the meals would be provided to all students in the selected schools, with respect to anonymity, transparency and non-discrimination. Furthermore, different ways of implementation such as the direct distribution of meals to the students and the distribution of voucher checks to the parents were explored and evaluated. After a statistical assessment of the results, the program took its final form, which it has retained until today.
After its pilot stage in the April - June 2012 quarter, the program continued the following school year in 163 schools. Taking into account the successful execution of the Program, the positive feedback from the participants as well as the increased amount of applications from schools, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation with additional donors, decided to continue funding the project over the coming 2013-2014, 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 school years, aiming to reinforce and enlarge its scope and reach.
During the 2015 - 2016 school year 20,528 students participated in the Program, attending schools all throughout Greece that have the highest levels of food insecurity in the country.
The Stavros Niarchos Foundation remains the founding donor for this school year as well.
For the third consecutive year the Program is being financially supported by the Welfare Foundation for Social and Cultural Affairs (KIKPE). The implementation of the DIATROFI Program in remote and rural areas is also financed by Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein through the We are all Citizens Program, which is part of the EEA Grants mechanism for Greece. The financial coordinator for this program is the Bodosakis Foundation. The aim of the Program is the bolstering of society and its citizens in our country and the reinforcement of social justice, democracy and that of sustainable development.
The Program is also funded and supported by the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation as well as the philanthropic Grace Foundation.
Moreover, AB Vasilopoulos via the “52 Weeks, 52 of feeding and caring actions throughout Greece” program, supports the operations of DIATROFI in 52 Public Schools and Kindergartens.
Finally, and just as importantly, the Program is being supported by several other organizations that include Metlife, the Public Natural Gas Agency (DEPA), Interamerican, the Plaisio Computers, the KAFKAS company, The Moraitis School Alumni Association and the Athens College Elementary School.