Inter midfielder Antonio Candreva has started paying the school meal fees for a young girl after finding out she was given tuna and crackers instead of the school’s normal lunch of pasta.
The girl – who immigrated to Italy with her family – in question reportedly burst into tears when she received the food and, upon hearing this, Candreva told the mayor: “I’m ready to help the parents pay the canteen.”
Despite being seen by most as a kind gesture the BBC has revealed that this generosity has in fact caused political tension in the town of Minerbe, where the issue occurred, as the mayor of the municipality, Andrea Girardi, is in the anti-immigration League.
Girardi defended the decision to give the youngster a different meal as it provided a degree of “correctness towards the families who pay the [canteen] fee regularly”.
It has since emerged that other students from immigrant families at the school are in the same situation however, it is not yet clear if Candreva is helping others in similar circumstances.
Girardi, as quoted by Corriere della Sera (in Italian), also said: “We face dozens of insolvent parents and can’t cover the costs. So we decided on a line that could move things on.
“We didn’t want to get to this point, but we risked failing to provide meals for the families who did pay regularly.”
The story has gone viral on social media with the 32-year-old getting a huge amount of praise from the online community for his selfless gesture.
It remains to be seen if a long-term solution will be put in place for the girl and the other classmates whose families are unable to afford school dinners.
However, for the time being at least, there is one girl who will be having pasta when the bell rings for lunchtime and that is thanks to Italian international, Candreva.