The city of Akashi in Hyogo Prefecture will install makeshift diners to provide meals for disadvantaged children in cooperation with local communities, officials said Tuesday.
The service, commonly known as “children’s diners,” provides food for free or at a low price for people including children from low-income, single-parent households and children who have to dine alone as their parents are both working.
While such diners have been sprouting up on a private basis in Japan, the officials said it is rare for an administrative body to take the initiative in setting them up to cover such a wide area.
The city plans to set up the diners in all of its 28 elementary school districts by fiscal 2017 and enable diner staff to share children’s information with schools, child consultation centers and other bodies to provide necessary support to those in need.
“We want to make the diners a place where we work with local communities and grasp what kind of situations the children are in,” said Akashi Mayor Fusaho Izumi.
Allocating a budget of 5 million yen ($48,000) for fiscal 2016, the city plans to set up the first five to 10 such diners at public halls, schools and other facilities by March and offer the service once or twice a week.
The main target of the service is elementary school students but children in junior high schools and high schools can also join the service, according to the officials.