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".


"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



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


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




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

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Bags ready 2019
Bags ready 2019

Bags ready 2019

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SS Children 2019
SS Children 2019

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Willing Helpers 2019
Willing Helpers 2019

Willing Helpers 2019

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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)

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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.

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.


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.

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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