by Paola Greco
For those unfamiliar with the name, Mary’s Meals is a charity that provides meals in schools for poor, sick and malnourished children all over the world. These children would not have the chance to receive an education if Mary’s Meals was not present in their village/town; some are so weak that, without proper food, they would not be able to walk to school, which in some cases is miles away from their home!
Mary’s Meals is now active in seventeen countries. They call this initiative ‘the simple solution to world hunger’. Indeed, it seems a simple solution. However, the work of founder Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow and of all those involved in this project, is impressive.
On Sunday, 16th September, Mary’s Meals held an event at the Irish Cultural Centre in Hammersmith. We had the opportunity to listen to the Executive Director Daniel Adams, founder and Global Chief Executive Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, and representatives of Mary’s Meals in Kenya and South Sudan. Their speeches were full of hope, even though the battle against hunger is made more difficult by factors such as wars, epidemics, weather conditions, tribal feuds, and other challenges. In many cases, parents prefer to keep their children at home to help with cattle and in the fields so to be able to produce a little bit more food. The introduction by Mary’s Meals of a daily meal, has provided the incentive for these parents to send their children to school. Many parents help now in the kitchen and with other chores.
The hall was packed and the many attendees enjoyed an afternoon of news, stories and music. There were performances by Acapella Trio Porter, by the excellent opera singer Christina Federici and by the London International Gospel Choir.
The afternoon included some films, which were sad but uplifting at the same time as they conveyed the battles, drawbacks and joys of all those directly involved in this incredible project. The message in the end is one of hope.
From a shed in his garden, Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow worked, and still works, to give hope to the poorest children in the world. He started with around 100 children a few years ago; Mary’s Meals now feeds 1,361,586 in most of the poorest countries of the world. Its ambition is one day to be able to give at least one meal a day to every single child on the planet who suffers from hunger.
To find out more about Mary’s Meals, please visit www.marysmeals.org.uk.