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Catholic school pupils and staff eat only porridge for 5 days

PUPILS from a Catholic high school who went hungry for five days last week have managed to raise enough money to feed over 180 children for one year in Africa. By Colette Cooper

St Andrew’s and St Bride’s High School, East Kilbride, completed a five-day porridge fast for Mary’s Meals from Monday November 18-22 to raise money for pupils in Damu Primary, Malawi.

The school’s initial aim was to feed 100 children with the donations made from the fast but the initial target of £1390 was surpassed as they raised over £2500—enough to feed 186 children for a year in their place of education.


Outstanding achievement

Headteacher of St Andrew’s and St Bride’s Ms Fiona Mullen said: “This is an outstanding achievement for all the staff and pupils who took part in this challenge. The whole school and parish communities got behind them, raising such a tremendous amount for Damu. We are so proud of all their efforts.”

Eight members of staff signed up for the fast and about 100 members of the school community took part – meaning that for breakfast, lunch and dinner for five days they could only eat only porridge.

Two staff members from the school recently attended a teachers’ retreat at Craig Lodge, Dalmally, where they heard Mary’s Meals founder Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow describe how a University group had done a porridge fast, which encouraged the school and pupils to get involved.

S6 pupil, Lucy Wright, interviewed Mary’s Meals founder, Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow and his wife, Julie, before this year’s school awards ceremony, at which Magnus was the guest speaker.


Inspiration

Lucy said: “I wanted to do the fast because of the fact that the pupils at Damu Primary depend on us to provide them with food and they are so young and need our help, but also because I have met Julie and Magnus MacFarlane Barrow and was so incredibly inspired by how humble they were and how passionate they were about the work of Mary’s Meals.”

St Andrew’s and St Bride’s sponsor the school in Damu, Malawi and have to raise just under £4000 every year to ensure that the children there are fed.

Religion Moral Citizenship Education (RMCE) teacher, Jacqueline Nelson, said: “Helping charities such as Mary’s Meals always makes me think about the prayer to St Francis of Assisi which says that it is in giving that we receive.

“Our work with Mary’s Meals allows our pupils to truly live their Faith.”


New experience

S6 pupil Jerline Jose said: “It was a different experience altogether. It made me think of life on a bigger scale. It made me realise the suffering and hardships many families go through, especially the kids my age or younger.”

Julie MacFarlane-Barrow, fundraising officer at Mary’s Meals, said: “There are many different ways in which schools choose to support the work of Mary’s Meals. Because of their incredible kindness, teachers and students are helping to transform the lives of the world’s poorest children with the promise of a daily meal in school.

“Prayer and fasting has a very special place in the Mary’s Meals mission. The pupils of St Andrew’s and St Bride’s have given us an extraordinary example of how to lovingly offer prayer and fasting for the benefit of the hungry child.”

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