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Celebrating our 140th Anniversary

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Mary’s Meals

Thursday 27th July 2017

Joe Black from Mary’s Meals shares with us more about their work, the impact it’s having across the globe and how BB Companies can get involved.

Who are Mary’s Meals?

Mary’s Meals is a charity with a simple vision: that every child receives one daily meal in a place of education. Very often, chronically poor children don’t attend school because they are begging, working or searching for food, or are too hungry to concentrate in class.

Mary’s Meals is a global movement that sets up school feeding programmes in some of the world’s poorest communities, where poverty and hunger stand in the way of children gaining an education.

Around 61 million of the world’s hungriest children do not attend school. In order to survive, they have to work or beg. Even if they do make it into the classroom, hunger affects their ability to learn.

In 2002, Mary’s Meals’ founder Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow visited Malawi during a famine and met a mother dying from AIDS. When Magnus asked her eldest son Edward what his dreams were in life, he replied simply: “I want to have enough food to eat and to go to school one day.”

What’s important to us is the hungry child. When there are hungry children in front of us today, we’re going to feed them, and at the same time we’re going to work on the solution to getting them fed in the long term, creating a global movement of people who believe in this vision.”

Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, Mary’s Meals Founder and Chief Executive

By providing one daily meal in a place of learning, Mary’s Meals enables impoverished children to attend school, where they receive an education that can offer a route out of poverty.

“I am able to come to school every day. Before I had to stay at home because of hunger. I love studying science and I’d like to be a scientist when I grow up.”

Patrick Aoun, 10, Izivale Private School, Montserrado, Liberia

That moment was a key part of the inspiration leading to the founding of Mary’s Meals, which began by feeding just 200 children at a Malawian primary school in 2002.

1,200,000+children now fed every school day

Today, Mary’s Meals is reaching more than 1.2 million children with a nutritious daily meal in places of learning in 14 countries including Malawi, India, Syria, Liberia, Haiti, and South Sudan.

Just £13.90 to feed a child for a year

It costs just £13.90 to feed a child for a whole school year with Mary’s Meals. Wherever possible, Mary’s Meals uses locally grown food to support the local economy and engages community volunteers to prepare and serve the meals. In Malawi alone, there are more than 80,000 registered volunteers who cook fortified maize porridge for the children.

Mary’s Meals works hard to keep running costs low to ensure that at least 93p of every £1 donated is spent directly on charitable activities. This is only possible because most of this work is carried out by dedicated volunteers.

How can you help?

There are many different ways you can help – by donating your time, money, skills and prayers.

Young people play a huge role in supporting Mary’s Meals and raising awareness about the charity’s work. BB groups across the UK think of all sorts of ways to help. The 1st Bromborough Company filled empty Smarties tubes with 20p pieces and arranged a sponsored walk, raising enough to fund daily meals for every child at Mocho Primary School in Malawi for a whole school year!

Young people are passionate supporters of our work because they understand the practicality and simplicity of Mary’s Meals and the difference a daily meal can make. Their enthusiasm and willingness to share our story with friends, family members and peers is absolutely wonderful and we never cease to be amazed by their innovative fundraising ideas!”

Joe Black, Education Officer, Mary’s Meals

Blair Anderson from Kilsyth in Scotland started fundraising for Mary’s Meals with 3rd Kilsyth Company in 2010, to mark the Company’s 60th anniversary. The whole Company pitched in with supermarket bag-packing over Christmas and New Year and a Christmas card delivery service around their town and neighbouring villages.

The Company’s fundraising was a huge success and, having raising enough to sponsor the building of a school kitchen in Malawi, some of the Company visited the school to meet the children receiving Mary’s Meals there.

Today, Blair is President of the University of Glasgow Mary’s Meals Society. Blair said: “It genuinely changed our lives. Being involved with Mary’s Meals has definitely shaped who I am as a person, and what I do in life.”

The Back Pack Project

Many children receiving Mary’s Meals don’t have basic learning tools such as pencils and notepads. You can support them to get the most out of their lessons by donating a backpack full of the things they need. For many children, a Mary’s Meals backpack will be the first gift they have ever received. Find out more at at marysmeals.org.uk under ‘Get Involved’ and ‘Campaigns’.

For more about the work of Mary’s Meals visit marysmeals.org.uk

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