February 2021

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.

Mary Paterson

November 2020

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,

Mary Paterson

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.

2020 Mary's Meals - Mission of Love

Kilsyth Burns & Old Parish Church is sponsoring 325 pupils (154 boys and 171 girls) at Chambawa School in Zambia.  Thank you for ensuring that Mary's Meals can provide them with a nutritious daily meal in their place of education.


Zambia suffers from high rates of malnutrition, poverty and food insecurity, with many children out of school.  For those children who are able to go to school, more than one million attend classes hungry.  Since Mary’s Meals began serving meals in Zambia in 2014, the programme has expanded rapidly.  We now feed more than 92,000 children in the country! 

Chambawa Primary School now has 324 pupils enrolled, including 154 boys and 170 girls.  The children at Chambawa Primary School range from Standards 1 to 8. There are 2 permanent classrooms at the school and the pupils are taught by a total of 3 teachers. The school’s water source is a hand pump in the school grounds, which is very close to the kitchen, and there are 6 pit latrine toilets on site that are split evenly between the boys and girls. In addition to a maize garden, the school has a football pitch and a netball court for the children to use.

Chrispin, 11, says that the porridge he receives from Mary’s Meals helps him to concentrate in class.

He told us: “We eat porridge at break time, it helps me to get through the day. I come to school because I want to learn and find a job to support my family".

Quotes from the school:


"The program has helped improve attendance, enrolment and pupils are active in class after taking porridge. Pupils look more healthy with the coming of the program than before"  -  Shawa David, Teacher



"I come to cook so that our children can have food whilst at school, Porridge gives our children energy and they look healthy"

- Catherine Banda, Volunteer Cook



"I love porridge it helps me concentrate in class. It gives me energy cause sometimes I come on an empty stomach. Last year I came in position 9 out of more than 30 pupils. I want to become a Teacher when I am done with school"

- Rachael Banda, 13 years, Grade 5 



"Porridge fills me up and it gives me energy. Last year I came out number 6 out of more than 20 pupils. I want to become a teacher when am done with school so that I can teach other children. My favourite subject is Mathematics"

- Masauso Phiri, 14 years, Grade 6



Message from Mary Paterson, Mission Group:


I wanted to share this update with you all at an appropriate service in the new year. Now is as good a time as any to have some uplifting news and see the worthwhile fruits of all our fundraising efforts. I am sure you will take pride in knowing that you have helped create these  wonderful smiles on the children's faces together with the comments from staff and helpers to remind us of how worth while the fundraising was.

Despite the current situation, it is heart warming to read that children are still being fed through the feeding programme. I have been following the current work of Mary's Meals in these challenging times online and would like to share some of Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow's ( Mary's Meals CEO) message dated 10th May . . . 

"If someone had said nine weeks ago that by now we would have reinvented our delivery models, agreed them with governments and found a way to keep feeding nearly all the children of our programme I don’t think I would have believed them...  In some ways it feels like many things, that might otherwise have taken years to develop, have been achieved in these few short weeks. But we cannot stand still.  These incredible feats would just not have been possible without your support.  After all these years I cannot claim to understand fully the wonder of Mary's Meals but I do know now, more deeply, that these little acts of love - your little acts of love - are not little at all.  Each one has ramifications that ripple across oceans and down through generations.  They are making the lives of countless children and families so much better and, together, they are pointing to something much bigger than us all.  In my message on Easter Sunday I described us as being like those children in Africa who bring a little stick each morning to school to contribute to the fire that cooks the porridge.  The fire that is Mary's Meals has certainly not gone out!  Rather it is blazing much brighter than ever, dispersing gloom and illuminating this prolonged night until dawn comes, and that dawn will indeed come".

Uplifting  thoughts indeed.

With the main focus on feeding the children and schools being closed, backpack distribution is on hold in the meantime. I have been asked if we can keep our items and pick up again once the Glasgow warehouse (and us!) is operational. Thank you to those of you who have already donated items this year and we look forward to the day when we can come together in friendship and fellowship around the tables in the Church Hall  and create once again our own "Little Acts of Love." 


In the meantime, thank you for your continuing support for Mary's Meals.

God Bless and stay safe.

Mary Paterson