Our appeal to support Mary's Meals Backpack Project once again made a welcome return to our Churh life earier this year.
Despite our circumstances, the support we have received from our congregation as well as friends outwith the community has been as strong as ever. Many of you have dropped off donations or passed them on anonymously and they have found their way to us. As well as the many items donated, £752.50 of monetary donations was also collected. This is a fantastic amount. We thank you very much for all your generosity.
The current climate threw up a lot of challenges for us when we were shopping for certain items this year and, in particular, we needed back packs. Thankfully, (we held our nerve!) and we were rewarded in locating good quality backpacks at a much reduced price and along with some donated backpacks, we have the wonderful total of 273 backpacks to fill. Thanks to your generosity, we only have toothpaste to purchase to complete this amount and as we currently have £250 in the "purse", we will manage this successfully. As always, we continue to keep an eye out for any bargains and I am sure that this total will continue to rise until we can have the backpacks uplifted.
Sadly, just as we were about to fill the backpacks and arrange for their transportation, the Charity announced that they have had to suspend the project "Due to supply challenges affecting the global shipping industry and higher associated costs" ... they "are currently unable to transport donated backpacks to Malawi."
This is a blow more for the children who would be looking forward to receiving them than to us in completing the task. The goods are currently stored in the print room and at the earliest opportunity, will be picked up by the charity when things resume. In the meantime, Mary's Meals have come back to us and said "Thank you so much for your understanding and to the entire congregation for their incredible support as always."
We will keep you posted with any changes to the situation.
In getting to this point of the project, it is as always, a wonderful team effort. This year in particular, tasks have been taken on at home rather than us working at the Church. I am indebted to everyone who has donated, sorted, washed, filled, sewed and shopped all in the name of Mary's Meals. Even the most mundane tasks have all been met with enthusiasm and a keenness to help and it is this spirit that carries us through times like these.
So many helping hands and, in the words again of Magnus McFarlane-Barrow, Mary's Meals founder and Chief Executive, who has said in the past, "Mary's Meals is a series of lots of little acts of love. If you put all those acts of sacrifce together it creats a beautiful thing".
Thank you once again for all your "little acts of love" and creating something beautiful at Burns and Old.
Mary Paterson 25 October 2021
As detailed in the last issue of Contact, we are currently accepting donations to fill back packs for Mary's Meals. We would gladly accept anything that is on the list but in particular, toothpaste, soap and notebooks to complete the backpacks which we have. We will continue to do this just now despite having heard from the charity recently that sadly "Due to supply challenges affecting the global shipping industry and higher associated costs" ..... they "are currently unable to transport donated backpacks to Malawi".
When things do pick up again, we will be ready to send nearly 250 backpacks. This is a great achievement under the circumstances.
Thank you to everyone again so far who has donated items and money as well as helping to prepare items for the backpacks.
Mary Paterson 27 September 2021
We are once again able to support the charity "Mary's Meals" through their backpack project, which has thankfully been reinstated. This is a wonderful opportunity to help primary aaged children who do not have access to the most basic supplies for every day living. The project provides a backpack filled with stationery, clothing, flip-flops, toiletries, a towel, a spoon and a tennis ball for a child in Malawi who attends a school where they are fed a daily meal in partnership with Mary's Meals.
Thank you to everyone who has continued to store, collect and also donate money and items these past 18 months despite not having a date to move forward on until now.
I am grateful to all the volunters who have offered to take on the tasks at home of 'detagging', sorting and counting items which we often do as a group. Although it is not the same as us being together to do these jobs like everything else this past while, we have adapted and have found a way through in order to bring about a successful outcome while keeping everyone safe.
More than ever, these little acts of love have a way of bringing us together even in these unprecedented times.
If you wish to donate to the Backpack Project, there is a full list below of the necessary items; those marked with an * are items which we know at this stage we are in need of. Any monetary donations that we receive wll be use to buy items that we find ourselves short of as sorting goes on. We are more than happy to receive good condition second-hand items where appropriate.
Thank you again everyone for continuing to support the charity.
Pencils (plain and coloured)
* T-shirt/shorts/dress (boy or girl age 4-12)
* Flip-flops/sandals (boy or girl size 13 - adult 5)
* Backpack (child or adult)
* Pencil case
* Bar of soap
Thank you to those of you who donated to Mary's Meals over Christmas and the New Year period towards their "Double the Love" campaign. The charity as always, continues to ensure that children still receive their daily meals while learning at home.
It is understandable at the moment that there is no movement on back pack distribution. The most recent update from our contact, Thomas Black, at the charity reads:
"We are still unable to take back-packs at the moment. This situation hasn't changed since we were last in conversation in September. We still have trouble around storing back-packs here and in distributing them in Malawi, but we will be in touch when this changes.
At the moment, we are focusing on our Ethiopia Crisis Appeal
Mary's Meals has launched an emergency appeal for aid for Tigray in Ethiopia, where millions have been forced to flee their homes as a result of conflict there which has been ongoing since November. The UN has described it as a very severe situation with around 4.5million people without food and basic supplies and many children separated from their families, living in refugee camps on the borders. Fortunately Mary's Meals are already established in Ethiopia and were previously feeding 24,300 children in schools every day. This means that Mary's Meals have an established and trusted partner agency in the area and are therefore able to get help to those who need it most. In other words, we are already giving aid and saving lives.
I'd be delighted if you wanted to share this news in your parish."
If anyone wishes to donate, they can do so through the Mary's Meals webpage or directly to:
Mary's Meals, Craig Lodge, Dalmally, Argyll, PA33 1AR.
Thank you to everyone who continues to remember Mary's Meals and we will keep you posted on any developments with regards to the Back Pack Project.
For the past 11 years now we have donated back packs filled with stationery, toiletries and clothing to the charity "Mary's Meals" as part of our Harvest Thanksgiving.
We believe that in having plenty, we should share with those who have so little. Sadly, due to the pandemic, the Charity had to suspend the back pack deliveries because of hygiene restrictions. Until the distribution chain is re-established, the Glasgow warehouse is unable to accept any new donations. Despite this, we are grateful to all those who keep an eye out for the bargains and also those who continue to collect and hold items for a future packing day. We all look forward to the day when Burns & Old is once again a hive of activity in creating the many little "Acts of Love" which we talk about.
It is encouraging to read that the charity has found new methods of food distribution to still reach children despite schools being closed. To quote Mary's Meals: "We're helping communities stay safe by distributing soap, sharing hand washing guidelines and introducing hygiene stations at our food collection points". As one grateful parent in Zambia said "Since schools closed due to Covid-19, it has not been easy for me as a parent. I'm grateful to Mary's Meals for distributing food. So far, I've collected rations three times and am managing to feed my children". Heart-warming news indeed.
The Charity is grateful for any donations received and from now until 31 January, the Government will match public donations, up to £2million. It costs £15.90 to feed a child for a year through the Charity.
CEO and founder of Mary's Meals, Magnus McFarlane-Barrow, has recently published a new book entitled "Give: Charity and the Act of Giving Generously". Magnus says "Charity is the best thing about us as humans. How we practice charity defines us as individuals. The way we encourage and foster it will shape the future of our societies. Acts of charity let light into the world. That is more obvious when they take place in the dark ...the new darkness that has covered the earth since I wrote "GIVE" has of course been met by an explosion of new acts of charity. All over the world, little fires of goodness sparkle beautifully - and it's true that these small acts find a way to illuminate even the gloomiest of places."
Thank you for your acts of charity in keeping the light of Mary's Meals illuminated during these dark times. The Charity has asked me to express their gratitude for the dedication and hard work which the Church carried out in their name and they will let us know when circumstances change.
Thank you again
Join Gerard Butler on an incredible journey!
Journey with Gerard on this heart warming adventure to find out what happened when he swapped the bright lights of Hollywood for classrooms in Haiti and Liberia.
Through our film, you can travel with him as he meets some of the communities we serve, see our work in action and find out why Love Reaches Everywhere. Please note this film was created before the Covid-19 pandemic.
Click on the link Love Reaches Everywhere for a very informative and heart-warming film about Mary's Meals.