A Nickel’s Worth
What can you do with a nickel? Could you change the future? Could you build bridges? Could you save lives and fuel dreams? You can if that nickel finds its way to a Mary’s Meals collection campaign.
Founded on the principle that food+school=hope, Mary’s Meals feeds over a million children each day and has revolutionized the war on hunger. The concept is so easy, anyone, including young children, can make a difference.
How Mary’s Meals Works
In 2002, Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, founder of Mary’s Meals, was on a service trip to Malawi. There he met a young boy named Edward. Edward’s one life wish was to have enough to eat and go to school. Out of this request, the idea of Mary’s Meals was born.
Inspired by the words of Mother Teresa, “If you can’t feed one hundred children, just feed one.” Magnus set out to feed children one good meal a day at a place of education, thus feeding their bodies and minds. Soon he was feeding 200 children a day in Malawi with 93% of all donations going directly to feeding children.
The simple porridge, Likuni Phala, is served in large plastic mugs to the children each day. The mugs are so prized that many children wear them on strings hung around their necks so as not to lose them. This simple blend of ingredients is prepared in a dedicated kitchen built at the school by Mary’s Meals
All of the kitchens are staffed by local volunteers and supplied with local goods to create a simple, but highly nutritious porridge for the students of the school where the kitchen is housed. Using local sources keeps the cost of feeding down while investing in the community. By coming to school, the children receive life saving food, and a life altering education.
The Little School with Big Dreams
In 2014, a small, Catholic school in New York embarked on a mission to build a Mary’s Meals kitchen in Malawi. Inspired by the movie Child 31, the students held nickel drives and fundraisers. In just four months, they raised the $11,500 to build a kitchen at Dzungwi school, Malawi but it didn’t stop there.
Mary’s Meals became such a part of the school’s culture that a Mary’s Meals club was born.
Throughout the year, the children meet dressed in their signature blue Mary’s Meals shirts to sort and count the money raised each month to feed keep the kitchen running. As part of the club, students learn more about their sister school in Malawi, exchange letters, videos, and photos; and even learn to play the same games that entertain their faraway friends.
Last year, St. Stephen St Edwards School raised over $20,000 by collecting deposit cans and bottles, holding nickel drives, selling popcorn each Wednesday, selling giftware, and more. Through their efforts, a second kitchen was adopted in Liberia that is now fully funded by the club.
Building Bridges One Nickel at a Time
The Mary’s Meals Club has built a bridge for children in a semi-rural town to learn and grow. Their worldview has expanded, and their connection to others on the opposite side of the world has solidified. The efforts of serving and understanding have benefited the children in the club as well as those they fundraise to feed. Likewise, the simple meals that are being provided in two countries thanks to this club are building bridges to the bright futures for the recipient children.
This is what One Planet, One People is all about. Journeying together in hope and knowledge to a promising future. Building a bridge isn’t hard. Just start one brick at a time, one child at a time. Inspiring youth to serve others and support global education is one of the greatest lessons we can offer.
St Stephen-St Edward school has not just found a hobby, it has discovered its mission. It is currently one of the largest and longest running fundraising campaigns for Mary’s Meals in the world. It all started with a simple idea, let’s help bring hope to a child in need.
How are you spreading the light of education to the world? Be the spark that chases the dark. Help those most in need and build a bridge to a better world!