Parish of the
Good Shepherd, Woodthorpe
St Anthony's of Calverton
New Local Community Ambassador for Mary's Meals
"I would like to have enough food to eat and I would like to be able to go to school one day" This was the response given by a 14 year old Malawian boy called Edward when he was asked about his hopes for the future. The boy's mother was dying of AIDS and his response had a powerful impact on Magnus Macfarlane-Barrow who had asked the question.

He discovered that, whilst primary education was free in Malawi, many children were unable to go to school due to lack of food. Those who did were often unable to concentrate because of hunger. A seed was planted in Magnus' mind and Mary's Meals was born. The aim was to provide a simple meal for each hungry child in a place of education.

From a humble beginning in Malawi in 2002 the charity has grown to now feed over 1,500,000 children every school day at a cost of just £13.90 for each child for a school year. Food is bought locally where possible and cooked by volunteers which keeps the costs low.

When I first heard about this charity I was immediately drawn to it. I knew of Magnus Macfarlane-Barrow and his humanitarian aid work in Bosnia during the war in the 1990s. I also knew of his connection with the Catholic Retreat Centre Craig Lodge in Dalmally in Scotland. I later read his book about Mary's Meals called The Shed that Fed a million Children and was convinced that this was the main charity that I wanted to support financially. One of the things that impressed me was that much of the work of the charity was done by volunteers. Costs were kept very low with no high paid employees or directors. Everyone who works for Mary's Meals does so with a sense of vocation and purpose. The focus is on feeding the next hungry child and providing them with a way out of poverty through education.

In September this year (2019) I also made a decision to apply to become a volunteer Community Ambassador for the charity. I received training and am hoping to give talks and presentations to schools and organisations about the work of Mary's Meals. Schools are particularly encouraged to take part in something called the Backpack project. This encourages children to donate used, but still usable, school bags filled with basic educational equipment. Through the project our children become aware of the needs of others and learn how they can help by passing on things they no longer use.

If you would like to know more about Mary's Meals and how you can help the website is

If you would like me to speak or present one of our inspirational films about Mary's Meals at a school or organisation or church group or would like help setting up a Backpack Project please contact me at or on 07948151264

3 Thackeray's Lane, Woodthorpe, Nottingham, NG5 4HT. Tel: (0115) 926 8288