BY Peter Diamond | August 2 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

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Scots charity Mary’s Meals now feeds 1.5 million children daily

A Catholic bishop has praised the ‘incredible achievement’ of Scottish charity Mary’s Meals, after it announced it was now feeding over 1.5 million of the world’s hungriest children every school day.

Bishop John Keenan of Paisley Diocese, who has recently joined the charity’s advisory board, offered his congratulations to the charity, and highlighted their great Faith and dedication to helping children living in extreme poverty.

Bishop’s blessing

“Congratulations to Mary’s Meals on their incredible achievement of now feeding over 1.5 million children across the world on a daily basis,” he said.

“As a young priest, like many Scottish Catholics, I fell in love with Mary’s Meals and gladly welcomed volunteers to our chaplaincy to make an appeal for backpacks for their rags to riches campaign.

“I knew from the beginning that the Mary of Mary’s Meals was Our Lady and that already had me hooked.

“But the volunteers were so full of Faith in Jesus, in love of the Church and in passion for hungry children to have a daily meal at school that they moved me and my parishioners deeply enough for our chaplaincy rooms, time after time, to be overflowing with old clothes or new jotters and crayons for collection.”

Greatness from small beginnings

From its humble beginnings in a shed in Argyll, the charity began by feeding 200 children in Malawi in 2002.

The charity has grown to provide life-changing meals to over 1.5 million children in countries such as Haiti, South Sudan and Syria, with the free school meal attracting children to school where they can receive an education that can be a ladder out of poverty.

Mary’s Meals founder Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow said: “This wonderful milestone gives us an opportunity to celebrate and give thanks to every single person who supports Mary’s Meals — from those fundraising around the UK to those volunteering to cook and serve meals to the hungry children in their own communities.

“Each one of them plays a crucial part in our mission— a mission that has only just begun given how many children remain hungry and out of school in the world today.”

God’s Grace

Bishop John Keenan, who has travelled to Malawi in recent years with staff and pupils St Benedict’s High School, Linwood, to witness the charity’s work, added: “In short, I have seen Mary’s Meals from top to bottom, beginning to end, inside and out, and at every level it shines with the grace of God, with the motherly care of Our Lady and with the sheer and surprising goodness of every good person.”

Since January 2019, the number of children receiving Mary’s Meals daily at school has risen by over five per cent, with research indicating reduced hunger, increased enrolment, improved attendance, falling drop-out rates, fewer absences, increased concentration, better attainment levels, less anxious parents and happier children in schools where Mary’s Meals are received.

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