Mary's Meals normally provides one good meal every school day for hungry children living in 19 countries around the world. The promise of these meals attracts children to the classroom, where they can gain an education and grow up well-nourished and well-educated to become the men and women who will lift their communities out of poverty.
When schools around the world started to close as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mary's Meals had to adapt quickly and find new ways to feed the children who eat its life-saving meals. Sometimes, it's the only food they'll receive in a day.
Back To School
Thankfully, in many of the countries where Mary's Meals are served, school playgrounds are beginning to fill with children once more. Children in Zambia, Liberia and Haiti are already returning to the classroom, and schools in Malawi, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe are expected to open again soon.
But whether they're learning at school or at home, the charity is continuing to safely reach the 1.6 million children who rely on Mary's Meals - and, with help from players of People's Postcode Lottery, this number is growing.
Working with governments, community leaders and partners, Mary's Meals has developed new methods of distribution to reach children in their communities and provide food for them to eat at home, until it is safe for them to return to the classroom.
This means that parents such as Lauryn Chauwa, from Malawi, can wake up each morning knowing that their children will be able to eat and learn. Lauryn is home-schooling her eleven-year-old daughter Gladys while continuing to care for her four-year-old son.
Lauryn said, "When it was announced that Mary's Meals was going to start (food) distribution, I was so happy. It meant my daughter was going to be eating porridge at home now."
Lauryn added, "The fact that Gladys eats porridge in the morning helps maintain her energy levels. It has been encouraging her, knowing someday schools will reopen and she will enjoy porridge in school again."
The Power Of Porridge
Wherever possible, Mary's Meals serves food that is locally produced. This supports the community and its farmers, as well as the wider economy. In Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe, the children are served steaming mugs of porridge enriched with vitamins and minerals to help them grow and thrive.
Each year, the charity celebrates the power of porridge on World Porridge Day (10th October).
This year, it held its biggest ever Porridge Party online, during a supporter event - The Mary's Meals Family Hour - and the charity is asking players to get involved by holding Porridge Parties throughout October to help raise funds for the children who rely on a daily mug of porridge.
Good Causes Worldwide
If you're inspired by the vital work undertaken by Mary's Meals, check out other amazing Charities our players support. To date, over £600 Million has been raised, helping a wide range of deserving causes in the UK and further afield.