Energy crisis in Belgium led to empty tiffins in schools


According to sources in Belgian education rising energy, the crisis is increasing poverty rates in Belgium, which is already affecting school children and their packed lunches.

The school director in Antwerp claimed that around a third of students arrive at school without food for the day due to rising costs impacting their parents’ budgets.


Karin Heremans, director of the Royal Athenaeum in Antwerp, said, “Several students did not eat this morning, and not everyone has a lunchbox with them.”

After noticing the trend since the start of the new school year, Heremans took it on herself to monitor the situation. She picked random classes daily to check on students as it became clear that embarrassment prevented children from admitting they had no food.

Karin Heremans, director of the Royal Athenaeum in Antwerp, added, “Five of the seventeen students in this class do not have a lunchbox with them,” she said after visiting one class.

“I also asked who ate this morning. Ten of them did not have breakfast. Three of those ten do not have a lunchbox and will only eat their first meal tonight.”

Heremans said that children desperately need every meal. “Some students fall asleep because they haven’t eaten. This impacts their concentration and therefore also their results.”

The Director of the Royal Athenaeum in Antwerp revealed that Skipping lunch is not a good idea physically. Still, empty lunch boxes also have an impact on the psychological well-being of the students.


Children at that age should not care about a basic need, food, in our society. Students are also embarrassed when asked why they have nothing with them for the break, Heremans said.

Therefore, it is difficult to determine the exact reason for each empty lunchbox, and intervention is not easy. “We have decided to give lessons on the importance of nutrition and, from the start of October, we will provide soup,” says Heremans.

In this way, they hope to help the students at their school. “But the conclusion can only be that many families today are only concerned with survival.”

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