Mary’s Meals Christmas appeal: 18,000 children die from hunger each day

Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, founder of the Argyll-born international child food-aid charity, Mary's Meals, puts the case eloquently for thinking of these desperate children at a time of the year where many of us suffer surfeit.

He says: ''To have enough food to eat and to be able to go to school one day,’ was Edward's answer to the question I asked him 10 years ago about his hopes in life.

'He was 14 and sitting beside his dying mother in Malawi. His words helped prompt the birth of Mary's Meals which are now being eaten by over 700,000 of the world's poorest children every day in school.

'Earlier this year, only one hour's drive from the village where I had met Edward, I had another conversation I won't forget. She tries hard not to, but when Lette speaks to me about the hunger she and her little brothers are suffering, she starts to cry. She tells me that since their parents died, the Mary’s Meals they eat every day in their school and nursery are often the only meals they get. Lette is now one of the stars of the recently released award-winning documentary about our work called Child 31.

'Head of her household at 12-years-old, and caring for her brothers like a devoted mother whilst trying to pass her own exams at school, she humbles me with her strength and self-sacrifice. Someone, somewhere, made us the donation that buys the school meals that keeps this little family alive and is allowing them a chance of education.

'Thousands of children like these in countries such as Liberia, Kenya, Haiti and India are depending upon these meals and because they are being drawn into schools by them, an escape from their poverty is opening up in front of them. In a world in which we have enough food for us all, 18,000 children die each day of hunger, while over 60 million children miss school because of poverty. Yet it costs us only £10.70 (or €12.40) to provide Mary's Meals for one child for an entire year.

'We currently have lists of schools waiting for us to start providing Mary's Meals in communities where local volunteers are ready to give up their time to cook and serve the meals if we can provide the food. They ask us for this chance for their hungry children. Please help us reach them. On behalf of Lette, her brothers, and over 700,000 other children, who now have food to eat and are able to go to school because of your generosity, I thank you with all my heart.'

  • Everyone interested in ordering a copy of Child 31 as an alternative seasonal gift, should go to the Child 31 Film website here.
  • For other ways to help the inspirational and highly effective charity, Mary's Meals, to reach more hungry children, please go to the Mary's Meals website here.
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