Our annual bag packing fundraiser for Mary's Meals was once again a resounding success. Every item and penny donated was used or spent wisely to ensure that we could send as many backpacks as possible to children who so desperately need a hand-up in life with their education. Your generosity was tremendous and allowed us to pack 370 backpacks.

The support we received from our congregation as well as friends and friends of friends out with the community has been as strong as ever.  Heart-felt thanks for supporting us  again.

Willing Helpers 2019
Willing Helpers 2019

Willing Helpers 2019

Bags ready 2019
Bags ready 2019

Bags ready 2019

SS Children 2019
SS Children 2019

Willing Helpers 2019
Willing Helpers 2019

Willing Helpers 2019


Thank you to everyone who sorted and made ready the contents of the back packs over the past year. This made filling the backpacks so straightforward on the day.

Thanks too, to the boys and girls of the Sunday School who joined in the packing. And to everyone who stayed on after Church and joined the assembly line of packers - thank you. It was great to see so many new faces among the familiar ones.

The back packs were stacked in the Church to form part of our Harvest Thanksgiving and were uplifted by the charity on Tuesday 8 October. The unspent monetary donations were used to buy out-of-season goods (at bargain prices) over the following months, ready for the next year.

As ever, at a time of year when we see the back packs stacked up in church, we reflect on the fact that working together as a team can achieve so much. Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow (Mary's Meals CEO) 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 sacrifice together, it creates a beautiful thing." We have created 370 "little acts" of our own love and that indeed is a beautiful thing.

Once again, "thank you" does not quite cover it for all the donations, time and effort so willingly given but on behalf of everyone involved - THANK YOU.

Items required for backpacks:


Shorts & t-shirts/dresses (age between 4-12 years)

Flip-flops/sandals (up to adult size 5)

Pencil Case, Lead Pencils, Coloured Pencils, Pens, Ruler, Rubber, Pencil Sharpener, Notebook 

Bar of Soap, Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Towels

Tennis Balls, Spoon

      (The Mary's Meals Team are delighted to receive donations at any time throughout the year)

To play, press and hold the enter key. To stop, release the enter key.


Intro with Thomas

Our grateful thanks must go to the ladies of the Choir, supported by James our organist, not only for their lovely musical contribution but also for all their hard work arranging such a varied and artistic programme.


As to the additional artists, including our own Ian Strain on the banjo and James on the piano, a thank you to them too for their musical contributions. It was also lovely to hear as well, local soprano Jean MacDonald, sing a hymn written by our dear friend and organist, the late Maureen Divers, who will always have a special place in our hearts.

The Harmony Group got us all clapping and tapping with their upbeat numbers and a little added magic and community singing from our friend the Rev John Campbell helped bring the afternoon full circle.

We are grateful too to Thomas Chalmers who was compere for the afternoon and not only introduced the acts but reminded us about the importance and aim of the afternoon.  A big thank you too to everyone who worked to ensure everything ran to order behind the scenes and to those who baked, served a great tea, helped out and ferried chairs about; we couldn't have done it without you!

And so, our new total for Mission of Love:

  • Our shortfall to meet our final target was £436.75

  • Music and Variety Concert raised £1,150

  • Grand Total £5,231.25

This was an unbelievable amount, raised by you and again, highlights the strength and unity of our church and how working for a common purpose brings us together. The extra money raised will be used by the charity for their feeding projects as they try to address humanitarian issues throughout the world.

Above are a few photographs taken on the day, showing all the artists, the "tea" ladies and the audience enjoying a thoroughly good afternoon's entertainment. Click an image and click the love heart to share the love... 


On our big packing weekend we filled 311 back packs, the highest number ever packed on a single day! A further 39 were added later bringing our grand total to 350  back packs, a match for last year!

Thank you for all the items and monetary donations that everyone handed in. This and the support of many beyond our Church walls, who year on year donate and ask for no recognition, helped us achieve another outstanding year of back packing.


As this project has grown over the years, so too has the commitment of many to become more involved and we thank everyone who has given their time these past weeks, including the Friday and Sunday of the packing weekend to sort and fill the back packs. The Sunday School was a great help, filling the bags, ensuring that not only were the backpacks filled but colour co-ordinated with items too! The amount of care that the boys and girls took to pack them ensured that each backpack was packed with a little bit of love too.

The back packs displayed in the Church were uplifted by the charity - along with clothing donations which can be sold in their charity shops. Everything that has been donated is used in some shape or form to support the charity's work.

Back Packs Sept 2018

It is wonderful to think that through everyone's efforts, we will not just be feeding 325 children through the "sponsoring a school feeding" programme but also giving that number and more a hand up in their education too.

Thank you does not quite cover it, but on behalf of the team and 350 happy children, a very big and heartfelt THANK YOU.


The Mary's Meal Team want to raise £4,518 to feed 325 children for a whole school year at Chambawa school in Zambia. To date, we have raised £4,081.85 so with just over £400 to raise we can see our target well within our sight.

A big thank you also to everyone who has spent considerable time shopping and going the extra mile to hunt down the bargains, making donations go further and allowing us to reach such a total once again.

We all like getting a bargain and our intrepid shoppers have admitted themselves that it has become an obsession trying to find the best deals.


What a wonderful afternoon of music and variety everyone enjoyed on Saturday 6 October in the Church Street hall.  Our Choir had offered to raise funds for Mary's Meals Mission of Love project and the concert they produced wasn't just a great success but also a wonderful showcase for home-grown talent and a celebration of all that is good in Burns and Old.


As we move toward our next Backpack appeal, we are grateful to everyone to please remind their friends and family who are thinking of putting out their children's old school bags, pencil cases, gym shoes etc that we can re-use ALL of these items.

Click on picture to view images in full screen

Mary Lending A Hand
Backpack 01
Backpack 02
Soup Sunday
Soup Sunday
Helping In The Kitchen
Preparing the Backpacks for Shipping
Backpack 04

We also require the following items:​

  • Bar of Soap

  • Flip Flops/Sandals (up to Adult size 5)

  • Notebook/Jotter

  • Pencil Case

  • Ruler

  • Rubber

  • Pencil Sharpener

  • Shorts/T-Shirt, Dress (4-12yrs)

  • Spoon

  • Towel

  • Toothbrush

  • Toothpaste