A GROUP of left wing bandits invaded a Sevilla supermarket on Friday, stealing school supplies to distribute to the needy.
The raid took place in broad daylight ahead of the impending start of the new academic year, and coincided with the closing of summer schools that have offered a lifeline to hundreds of struggling Spanish families over the holiday period.
A total 56 Andalucian schools remained open over the summer holidays and attendees of primary school age took regular lessons, breaking for a free and substantial lunch every day.
Many parents said the free food was a motivating factor in sending their children to school, and leftovers were always offered to parents at the end of the day.
As unemployment in the region remains the highest in Spain, 36%, malnutrition is becoming an even bigger problem among the young populatation.
Marta Arias, a spokesperson for UNICEF Spain, said: “The level of child poverty in Spain was already high, around 20% when the crisis hit, and the figures are getting worse year by year.
“Not only are there more children under the poverty line, but those that are, are getting poorer.”
In June the government launched a free school meals programme for 11,000 needy pupils in the region’s schools.