The Euro Legacy: In Greece, Children Pick Through Trash Cans For Food

Tyler Durden's picture

"We have reached a point where children are coming to school hungry," as with an estimated 10% of Greek elementary and middle school students suffering from 'food insecurity', the troubled nation has fallen to the level of some African countries. As the NY Times reports, unlike the US, Greek schools do not offer subsidized cafeteria lunches. Exacerbated by the austerity measures including cuts in subsidies for larger families, the cost has become insurmountable for many. With 26% of Greek households on an 'economically weak diet', children are starting to steal for food and picking through trash cans as they proclaim, "our dreams are crushed." What is frightening is the speed at which it is happening, "a year ago it wasn't like this," as one family talks of the 'cabbage-based diet' which it supplements by foraging for snails in nearby fields. Programs are being started to help from wealthier Greeks, but as one parent said, "unless the EU acts, we're done for."


Via NY Times,

As an elementary school principal, Leonidas Nikas is used to seeing children play, laugh and dream about the future. But recently he has seen something altogether different, something he thought was impossible in Greece: children picking through school trash cans for food; needy youngsters asking playmates for leftovers; and an 11-year-old boy, Pantelis Petrakis, bent over with hunger pains.




“Not in my wildest dreams would I expect to see the situation we are in,” Mr. Nikas said. “We have reached a point where children in Greece are coming to school hungry. Today, families have difficulties not only of employment, but of survival.”



Last year, an estimated 10 percent of Greek elementary and middle school students suffered from what public health professionals call “food insecurity,” ... “When it comes to food insecurity, Greece has now fallen to the level of some African countries,” she said.


Unlike those in the United States, Greek schools do not offer subsidized cafeteria lunches. Students bring their own food or buy items from a canteen. The cost has become insurmountable for some families with little or no income. ...


... classmates are frequently hungry, she said, and one boy recently fainted. Some children were starting to steal for food, she added. While she does not excuse it, she understands their plight. “Those who are well fed will never understand those who are not,” she said.


“Our dreams are crushed,” added Evangelia, whose parents are unemployed but who is not in the same dire situation as her peers. She paused, then continued in a low voice. “They say that when you drown, your life flashes before your eyes. My sense is that in Greece, we are drowning on dry land.”




This year the number of malnutrition cases jumped. “A year ago, it wasn’t like this,” Ms. Perri, said, fighting back tears. “What’s frightening is the speed at which it is happening.”




Mr. Petrakis said he felt emasculated after repeatedly failing to find new work. When food for the family ran low, he stopped eating almost entirely, and rapidly lost weight.


“When I was working last summer, I even threw away excess bread,” he said, tears streaming down his face. “Now, I sit here with a war running through my head, trying to figure out how we will live.”


When the hunger comes, Ms. Petrakis has a solution. “It’s simple,” she said. “You get hungry, you get dizzy and you sleep it off.”


A 2012 Unicef report showed that among the poorest Greek households with children, more than 26 percent had an “economically weak diet.” The phenomenon has hit immigrants hardest but is spreading quickly among Greeks in urban areas where one or both parents are effectively permanently unemployed.




He has not found work for three years. Now, he said, his family is living on what he called a “cabbage-based diet,” which it supplements by foraging for snails in nearby fields. “I know you can’t cover nutritional basics with cabbage,” he said bitterly. “But there’s no alternative.”




“I’m not saying we should just wait for others to help us,” he said. “But unless the European Union acts like this school, where families help other families because we’re one big family, we’re done for.”


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
camaro68ss's picture

little snail with your cabage sir?

Mercury's picture

Seriously, when is the next, bazillionth, catered meeting of public servant, financial alchemists?

McMolotov's picture

And how do we get on the catering staff so we can poison the fuckers?

Richard Chesler's picture

It's all part of God's work.


imbtween's picture

Surely the Greek people understand they must make sacrifices in order to save their banking system from collapse. Chin up, Nikos, once the banks have enough money, everything will be great!

Divided States of America's picture

I dont see any such scenes on CNBC depicting the dire situations going on in Greece....but instead we get our daily does of Larry Fuckin Fink in his Fed sponsored Armani suits, Fuckin senile geezer Carl "I CAN" Icahn throwing a hissy fit and other fuckin Jbags who continues to rape the rest of the world for their own fuckin pleasure.

SilverIsKing's picture

Some of the blame has to be borne by the Greek politicians and even the Greek public for how they got into this mess in the first place.  They gave up their sovereignty and lived on debt while not doing much work and retiring at an early age.  Feel bad for the kids of course but there's plenty of blame to go around both in and out of Greece.

Popo's picture

"Unless the EU acts we are done for"


No, woman.  Unless YOU act you are done for.   Get a pitchfork, torch and whatever else is handy and get to work on your local EU puppets.

DaveyJones's picture

Funny , in Monsanto's America, our children pick through food to eat trash

Skateboarder's picture

Chee-tos, dawg?

<-- I don't care if it's space food - flamin hot cheetos are the shit.

AlphaDawg's picture

guess the message our beaurocratic heroes are telling us is that we need to suck it up.


seriously, the apathy around the globe has turned us all into gimps.


Oh fuck!

Rubbish's picture

The world would rather buy guns and bullets instead of feeding the children. I mean really, what the fuck did they do.

WayBehind's picture

Like the situation in the US was any better ...

Supernova Born's picture

Soylent: The common sense hunger-control solution.

TraderTimm's picture

@francis "there he goes again" sawyer

Reached your limit for not assigning racial tags again? Dang, you were doing so well.

Seer's picture

Good point.  One made even clearer when you look at the funding for US's goon squad operations.

I'm in farming for a reason: it's the only way I know how to even attempt to pay back to the future what I got so (comparatively) easily.

Shizzmoney's picture

Again, this is why we have a 2nd Amendment.

The ECB (and the bankign interests they work for) was going to steal the money from the Greeks once they joined the Euro.  We know that.

But what the guns would of done was scare the shit out of the local pols to actually stand with the people. 

ronaldawg's picture

Mademoiselle/Fraulien Merkel:  LET THEM EAT CABBAGE....

tooktheredpill's picture

it sounds like an uprising can't be far off

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

That may be difficult. If you are truly starving and are subsisting on cabbage what kind of rioter will you make? The longer this goes on the more likely TPTB win.


akak's picture


If you are truly starving and are subsisting on cabbage what kind of rioter will you make?

A very flatulent rioter, I am guessing.

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

If it only was possible to destroy the PTB with stench! I, for one would gladly eat 20lbs worth. Unfortunately in our land of Oz, you can't melt a witch with water. Shame, would be glorious to behold.


Parisnights's picture

Hope So.  When the Federal gov't of any country abandons the ppl, the ppl must abandon the fed gov't.  New city state bitchez

Seer's picture

"Money" is a CLAIM on future work.  Because there's not enough growth to entice the pursuit of the future much of that "money" is going to end up as a dead rotting fish.  And even IF you could keep it from spoiling just what then of the future, which demands more and more natural capital (from a finite capital store that is the planet).

Shoot all the bastards and we've still got the problem of BAD books.  We'll open up the "vaults" to see that they're empty, that they really never had anything in them: whatever was there is embedded in McMansions and whatnot, things that gave people work with which to help perpetuate the big bubble-up (circular function building upon the Great Ponzi).

The PROBLEM isn't the banksters etc, it's that the future cannot deliver what we've demanded from it.

Books empty.  No future growth.  Selling off the assets that the banksters et al may have is going to be about the same as selling off public assets- other RICH folks are going to pick things up penny-on-the-dollar.  How is all of this going to be rectified by the "2nd Amendment?"

I GET IT that people are pissed.  Lots of emotions.  However, we need more level heads to actually figure out what kind of future we're going to have than heads filled with revenge which will amount to little more than blowing off steam and perhaps giving TPTB another reason to crack some skulls (for old-time's sake- they won't be able to do so again).

klockwerks's picture

Doesn't anyone go fishing or grow anything. If they are unemployed they have plenty of time.

new game's picture

they became worthless humans, dependant on a handout, government job and unrealistic benies.

what else do you expect.  picture new orleans without a catagory 5 huricane.

picture this accross america when the dollar tumbles.

picture it being widespread and in your face if you live in a shity city.

picture 1.6 billion bullets being deployed. picture fema camps for all these worthless eaters that are sucking one of the numereous tits that you are working for.  picture the future that ben and the banksters are creating for good ole ussra...

reality is knocking...

Imminent Crucible's picture

Picture 300 million fat, heavily-armed rednecks STARVING and ANGRY. That's the picture that keeps the central bankers from imposing "austerity" here.

It's coming anyway.

Parrotile's picture

> Picture 300 million fat, heavily-armed rednecks STARVING and ANGRY.

You should be aware that if the American People become "a problem", the  Security Forces have plenty of very effective covert weapon systems to permit "that problem" to be easily managed, or even eliminated.

Mind you, it'll probably never be necessary. The "Divide and Conquer" strategy (Straight vs Gay, Red vs Blue, White vs Black, etc., etc.) seems to be doing the "management" job just fine, right now doesn't it.

JoeSoMD's picture

there will be no fema camps set up. rather, ghettos like in warsaw during ww2 will be established.  rings of security will surround each.  gangs will control the ghettos.  when conditions deteriorate furtherand the gangs break out of the first ring they will be contained by the next.  over time they will establish their own 'state' as they consolidate more real estate.  there will be no rule of law, only survival of the fittest.

BooMushroom's picture

No, and here's why:

Rigid and complex bureaucracy, ditto environmental rules, and corruption.

Sanksion's picture

If they keep looking forward rescue and enlightment from political institutions, they have learnt dick and deserve to die.

horseman's picture

Their citizens, as well as US citizens and any other country for that matter, are not responsible for any of this.  The banksters and politicians are alone in the responsibilty.  In the US, voter mandated reforms are routinely overturned by the politcal courts and people have no power over AG Holder who refuses to prosecute anything but white 15 yr old skinheads for anything.


DaveyJones's picture

Let's review the tape. Goldman was caught red handed helping Greece cook the books to get more loans based on fraudulent statements. This helped start the domino effect. How many folks have gone to jail? The law has become a joke nationally and internationally 

Seer's picture

Until we stop playing the victims we'll continue to be victims.


It was one huge global borrow-from-the-future growth orgy in which everyone piled into the greed wagon.  "Look, free money!"  "Money creates MOAR money!"  Why this happened is because we are ALL conditioned to believe that it's our DUTY to pump/pimp growth.  I don't believe that the end ever comes to those who are far off from consuming the natural capital available to them (unless by an outside force).  It's ONLY when depletion is fully set in that all of a sudden people start scrambling to pin the problem on this thing or that thing.

I don't know if you got up-arrows just because you embedded magic words ("AG Holder," "white"), or because of the basic statement that "citizens" aren't responsible for ANY of the problems we're facing.  Ever wonder if the elite are saying the converse?  Kind of like many here who also blame the poor, lazy slobs?  Yeah, the elite are convincing themselves that they are doing all the tough things while the rest of us ungrateful slobs berate them.

I definitely know what IS acting in all of this (and so did someone else who was pretty damn wise)...

"Men argue, nature acts." - Voltaire

tip e. canoe's picture

"Excellently observed," answered Candide; "but let us cultivate our garden."

horseman's picture

Seer, what are people supposed to do.  They vote, work within the system and their voices are ignored.  Sure, you can say they should fight back and revolt but I see you are here meaning you aren't exactley laying your life on the line for the cause.  As far as Holder, I am not using any code words trying to get up arrows.  I don't care about up arrows.  All one has to do is watch who he choses to prosecute and for what, as well as his crimes of ommission.


Lugnut's picture

True dat, plus that country made not paying taxes into an artform.


No revenue, no spending, unless its borrowed.

Hello, ECB?


Imminent Crucible's picture

There's only 11 million of them. Over here, we've got 300+ million Supersized Americans who desperately need a respite from the buffet.

Let's ship 'em Monsanto, one-way, no return, and go on a fast-food diet. Then carpet-bomb their country with all the KFC, McD's, BK, etc we don't eat for a few days.

Greece will be invisible under the french fries and biscuits and gravy.

I wonder how Ollie Rehn would taste deep-fried and sliced thin?

Seer's picture

So, you don't really like those people over there very much, DO you? </sarc>

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

We fatten our citizens with junk food and numb them with pharmaceuticals so they can't hold a pitchfork to revolt and are dependent on government for their every need. Greeks are being starved into submission and because they have been coddled for so long they don't have the ability to survive on their own or ban together and figure out how to produce food for themselves. There is some similarity between the two. The moral is do not allow yourself to become dependent on the government or you may suffer an unpleasant fate. Surround yourself with like minded people, fly under the radar as much as possible and pray you've prepared well enough if it all blows up.


Imminent Crucible's picture

I must say, I like the way you think. I've closed bank accts and brokerage accts, reduced my standard of living and gone for simplicity and anti-fragility. Nassim Taleb is my hero and Kyle Bass is my role model. Even if I am older than him. I've gotten in with a sweet crowd of Mexicans who feed us like kings. You get kissed a lot. Well, the wife does.

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

We do think alike. Our new strategy is to try and be as much a locavore as possible. Our neighbor has a huge organic garden which he sells the excess at the farmers market. This month he has massive amounts of kale and Swiss chard. We bought 4huge grocery bags worth for $15 and have come up with all kinds of recipes. Our next project is to grow complementary to him so we can go to the next step: barter. I'm raising turkeys this year for exchange too. Network, network network is my new mantra as well as how can I be valuable to others.


Parrotile's picture

Mindful of the TONS of perfectly good food thrown away in the USA, every day, one wonders how far this would go to offset the problems faced with the Greek Hoi Polloi right now.

One suspects it would be far from "a drop in the Ocean".

HobbyFarmer's picture

Have 200+ seedlings started already and have planted 15 more fruit trees.  I intend to NOT cry to my overlords for feeding my capable of labor and enjoy farming (small scale) so it works for me.

That being said, shit happens to good people.  While I plan for the worst, a group of hungry government thugs could overwhelm me and take my farm at some point, so I'm not mocking the Greeks or looking down on them.  Certainly they have 1000's of years of small farming heritage to rely upon.

I do try to share with those who can't do what I'm doing.  I work with various youth groups including the Boy Scouts and have a "troubled" kid from a single mother home who is crying for attention.  I bring him to my farm a couple times a week to work out with some buddies and me, give him older brother type attention and encouragement.  Along with this, he proposed trading his labor  in exchange for food. 

So, I am buying an extra pig this spring and will take care of it everyday and have it butchered in the fall.  I'll send this boy home with fresh eggs and produce from the garden/orchard whenever he helps me.  And in exchange for this, he has seriously been working his butt off doing projects for me around the farm. 

Win, win, for the barter option.  I can't solve the worlds problems (although I complain enough) but I can help this one kid out.