An international football star is paying for a migrant girl’s school lunches after she was fed crackers and canned tuna because her parents couldn’t afford meal vouchers. Antonio Candreva, who plays for Inter Milan, stepped in after learning about the plight of the eight-year-old in Minerbe, near Verona, in Italy. The youngster had burst into tears after being served the meagre snack while her classmates ate a two-course meal including pasta. Candreva offered to pay for a year of lunches for the girl and another 30 primary pupils whose families were behind on the lunch payments – most of whom are migrants. The 32-year-old Italy international intervened after the girl’s plight became a political football. Opposition councillors claimed the mayor of Minerbe, Andrea Girardi, was using school rules to “discriminate against a foreign girl whose parents can’t pay for lunch”.
Antonio Candreva (L) in action for Inter
(Image: AFP/Getty Images)
They branded the decision “discriminatory” and “inhuman”. Girardi is a member of the anti-immigrant League party led by Italy’s deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini. He insisted the decision was made out of respect to parents who pay for their children’s lunches, which cost £4.50 a day.
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The mayor said: “The new rules state that you can get two lunches without paying, after which the tuna option activates. “We are tired of being taken for a ride. Everyone makes sacrifices. My father worked two jobs to support me and my family.” Candreva’s dad Marcello told La Repubblica newspaper: “I am proud of what my son did. “He has always been a sensitive person and even more so since he became a father.” Marcello said his son often visited sick children in hospital and had supported people made homeless by the L’Aquila earthquake in 2009. In 2015, after backing a charity drive for African children, former Lazio star Candreva said: “It is always important to help people in need, especially if they are children.”