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Fr Jim Cogley

Three of the Gospels have the account of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes where Jesus takes something small that is offered and uses it to feed a multitude. One of my favourite charities does precisely this and its called Mary’s Meals. It was founded in 2002 by Magnus McFarland and its objective is to feed hungry children in a place of education. The idea was inspired by an encounter between Magnus and a Malawi child whose family had been wiped out by AIDS. When asked what he wanted most he replied to have enough eat and to have an education. So the project began with feeding 200 children in Malawi and today feeds 2.4 million every day in 18 of the poorer countries in the world. While in Ireland we have so much, we appreciate so little and we waste such a lot, a charity like Mary’s Meals affords us the opportunity of giving back something that when used properly and wisely can make such a difference.

Here in our own community of Our Lady’s Island the Church sponsors a coffee morning every Tuesday while those who come make a donation to a particular charity for each month. For May, the month associated with Mary, this charity is Mary’s Meals. For just 11c they can provide a full school meal, working out at 22euro a year to feed a child attending school for an entire year. Having food also provides a big incentive for the children to come and be educated. While many charities have a high operating cost, Mary’s Meal’s ensures that 93% of all donations goes directly into food provision. They are enabled to do this by having an army of ‘apostles’, volunteers on the ground who look after the buying the food from local farmers and then getting it to the local schools. I find it incredible that the price we pay for one chocolate bar can provide 13 such meals while for us by giving what we can, it provides an opportunity to express our gratitude for having so much.



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