Milestones in Magnanimity: Mary’s Meals


Six years after achieving the milestone of feeding one million children with a daily meal, Mary’s Meals is a charity with over 14 national groups around the world. Their mission? Making sure children receive a daily meal. Six years after achieving the feat of having fed one million children, they reached a new milestone in 2021: Mary’s Meals now counts more than two million school-aged children in 19 countries who’ve received the necessary gift of nourishment.

How many more hungry children will Mary’s Meals feed with their impressive global movement of supporters and volunteers?

“We are celebrating an incredible moment in the history of Mary’s Meals,” says Carmela Gaetani, Vice-President of Mary’s Meals Italy. “We are lighting the future for two million children. Mary’s Meals provides a daily school meal in communities where poverty and hunger prevent children from getting an education. Ours is a simple idea that works. By providing a nutritious daily meal in training places, children are motivated to go to school, thus receiving an adequate education that, one day, will free them from poverty. The cost to offer a meal to a child for a whole school year is only 18.30 euros. Imagine what we spend to eat a pizza in Italy—this can be enough to feed a child and change his life for a whole year!”

Minimal management expenses and generous supporters are the ingredients of success for Mary’s Meals—93 percent of all donations go directly to feeding programs. This puts a stop to child labor in the fields or the need to beg. A meal at school gives children the strength to focus on the skills to read and write, so they can become adults who raise their communities out of poverty and end the dependence on charitable aid.

The first Mary’s Meals campaign happened in 2002 when the organization’s founder, Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, visited Malawi during a famine. His aim was to bring meals to around 200 children in two schools. From that time until now, more than 30 percent of Malawian primary school children have enjoyed nutritious meals served in schools by local volunteers determined to help the next generation to build a better future.

Mary’s Meals feeds a large number of children attending government-run schools in Africa and has a presence in Liberia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, South Sudan, Uganda, Benin, Myanmar, Ecuador, and Romania. This charity also supplies daily meals to children at informal education centers in India; to the sons and daughters of migrant workers in Thailand; to young people confined to prisons in Niger and in Madagascar; to children affected by the ongoing conflicts in Ethiopia, Syria, Aleppo and Lebanon; and to thousands of students who’ve survived natural disasters and political unrest in Haiti.

A five-year impact study recently published shows the results of Mary’s Meals in reducing children’s hunger, improving their well-being, and helping them access education. Executive Director of Mary’s Meals Italy, Silvia Tolve, says, “For each of those children who ate today, many others are still waiting for the organization to arrive at their school.”

Readers, if you wish to join the other generous supporters of Mary’s Meals, there are several simple and effective ways to contribute to their mission. For more information, and to donate: