School meals charity marks 20 years in White City
A charity that funds nutritious school meals for children in 20 of the world’s poorest countries has recently celebrated its anniversary in White City.
Volunteers and residents gathered at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic church in Commonwealth Avenue, W12, to mark the 20th birthday of Mary’s Meals and learn about its work helping hungry children.
The event raised more than £750 for the charity and included a showing of the documentary, Child 31.
Mary’s Meals organises school meals for children in many of the world’s most troubled locations, including Ethiopia, South Sudan, Syria and Lebanon.
The promise of a meal attracts hungry children to classrooms, giving them the energy to learn their way to a better future. It costs £15.90 to feed a child with Mary’s Meals for a full school year.
Gerrard McMahon from the charity explained: “Mary’s Meals is a grassroots global movement which, thanks to the contribution of Londoners, keeps its promise to the 2,279,941 children who rely on our meals, while striving to reach the next hungry child.
“We are experts in reaching hungry children – and we’ve been able to reach so many little ones over the past 20 years because of the kindness of those who believe in our mission.”
The charity also works for children in Yemen, Malawi, Liberia, Zambia, Niger, Zimbabwe, Haiti, Kenya, India, Uganda, Benin, Myanmar, Thailand, Ecuador, Madagascar and Romania.
Independent research from Malawi, Liberia and Zambia shows that in schools where children receive Mary’s Meals, hunger is reduced, enrolment increases, attendance improves, drop-out rates and absences fall, concentration in lessons is heightened, attainment levels increase, parents are less anxious, and children are happier.
The Mary’s Meals campaign began in 2002 when Magnus MacFarlane Barrow visited Malawi during a famine and met a mother dying from Aids. When Magnus asked her eldest son, Edward, what his dreams were in life, he replied: “I want to have enough food to eat and to go to school one day.”
Thanks to its volunteers, Mary’s Meals spends at least 93 per cent of donations directly on its charitable activities.
Fighting food poverty in H&F
Hammersmith & Fulham Council has introduced universal breakfast and pilot lunch schemes as part of our ground-breaking approach to tackling food poverty.
H&F is working with schools, volunteer organisations and local businesses to rise to the challenge as a key aim in the council’s Industrial Strategy to harness the economic prosperity of our booming borough.
“It’s appalling that children are still going to school hungry in one of the world’s wealthiest capitals,” said Cllr Stephen Cowan, Leader of the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham. “We must put an end to that. Our schools are now the frontline in our war against hunger.”
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