Mary’s Meals is a story of hope. We believe that every child should have enough food to eat and be able to go to school. We work with some of the world’s poorest communities to set up school feeding programmes in places where hunger and poverty can stop children from gaining an education. We provide daily meals in school to encourage children – who might otherwise be working or scavenging for food – to gain an education that can offer them a route out of poverty.
We are a no frills charity. Just €18.30 will feed a child for a whole school year. At least 93% of all monies raised go directly to our charitable activities
Children are at the heart of Mary’s Meals. It was the words of a child that first inspired this movement. In 2002, Mary’s Meals’ founder Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow from Scotland accompanied a priest to the home of a dying woman in Malawi. While they were there, Magnus asked her 14-year-old son, Edward, about his hopes in life and he replied: “I would like to have enough food to eat and I would like to be able to go to school one day.”
Our school feeding programmes are owned and run by local communities. Before a school can be added to the programme, the community has to put forward volunteers who give their time to cook and serve the meals for the children. We provide the ingredients for the meals along with training and monitoring support, but it is the community volunteers who get up at dawn to collect firewood and cook the meals – stirring huge pots so that every child in the school can enjoy a nutritious meal each day while they learn. And Mary’s Meals is able to buy the ingredients for the food because of kind-hearted people all over the world – including many right here in Ireland – who support this work because they want to help children to thrive and offer them the chance of a better future. It’s amazing what we can achieve when we work together.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic forced schools all over the world to close, Mary’s Meals was feeding more than 1.6million children in their place of education every school day! As we know, schools did have to close to prevent the spread of the virus and suddenly life got even harder for people living in the world’s poorest communities whose children rely on our school feeding programme. We knew our work could not stop.
We have found new ways to keep our promise to the children who rely on our daily meals. We are now delivering food to local communities so that families can cook for their children at home while the schools are closed. As well as delivering essential food supplies, we are distributing soap and hygiene information to help people in vulnerable communities to protect themselves against the spread of the virus. These parcels are absolutely vital at the moment and they are made possible by the kindness of strangers – those who give donations, fundraise, and pray for our work.
Please visit marysmeals.ie or call Patricia Friel on 0863140814 for more information