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Children waiting to be served Mary's Meals at school in Malawi.

Support Mary’s Meals this Giving Tuesday

Find out more about the amazing change you’ll be a part of when you give the gift of school meals this Giving Tuesday with Mary’s Meals.

Published on

Giving Tuesday 2022

Giving Tuesday (29 November) is fast approaching and people around the world are primed to give what they can in aid of their favourite charitable organisations, doing their part to help better the lives of others.

Children across the world are facing unimaginable hardships. Never before in modern times has there been a food crisis so vast – malnutrition is driving illness and stunted growth among the very youngest in society on an enormous scale and forcing record numbers of children out of school to work or scavenge in an attempt to support their families.

Choosing to donate to Mary’s Meals this Giving Tuesday will bring about real change for children living in exceptionally difficult circumstances – unsure when they will next eat or feel full.

Find out for yourself what the promise of daily sustenance can do for a hungry child and the ripple effects that simple meals have on children’s families and wider communities.


Children’s hunger reduces and energy levels increase when they eat Mary’s Meals

In the schools and centres where our meals are served, research shows that hunger is reduced among both girls and boys and this impact is sustained over time. In the communities where we work, children often attend school without eating breakfast. This can be because of a scarcity of food or a lack of money to buy food, or both.

It’s not uncommon for children to walk great distances to reach school – some journeys lasting over an hour each way – meaning they are arriving at school feeling hungry and with low energy. In Kenya, among pre-school learners who receive our meals, 64% of children said their tummies were empty when they arrived, but at the end of the day, having received their meal while at school, 86% said they felt full as they left to go home.


Tanastwa pose as she enjoys her porridge in Zimbabwe

Tanatswa and her four siblings live in a village in Zimbabwe that suffered significantly as a result of tropical storm Ana in January. They are all too familiar with the feeling of hunger. The 45-minute walk to and from school used to be a real struggle for the five children, but now Mary’s Meals is serving daily food at their school and helping to ease the hunger they feel.

Tanatswa says: “When I told my mother about the coming of the feeding programme, she was so pleased that we were going to have a meal at school, she actually screamed! I have been really looking forward to this day [when feeding arrived at the school] ever since. Walking from home to school will be easier with the arrival of these meals at school. I hope some of our challenges will be alleviated.”


The promise of a daily meal at school increases happiness and wellbeing among children

In countries where levels of food insecurity are high, children worrying about being hungry at school is a regular occurrence. In schools in Malawi and Zambia, around 40% of children who spoke with our teams as part of a research project said they worried about being hungry in school ‘most of the time’ or ‘always’. After they started receiving Mary’s Meals, this percentage fell as the children’s worries about feeling hungry at school reduced. Learners also told us that knowing the meals would be served consistently every day meant they were less worried about when they would eat next, even when they were unsure about if they would get any food at home.


Children are more likely to stay in school and enrolment numbers rise

Time and time again we see far fewer children leaving school early because of hunger once they start receiving Mary’s Meals and enrolment numbers also increase; not just temporarily, but over a sustained period of time. In Malawi and Zambia, enrolment increased by an average of 25% in our programme schools.

This significant change was also reinforced by volunteer cooks in both countries who serve the meals to learners. Over five years of our meals being served in schools, the percentage of volunteers in Malawi – many of whom are integral members of the local communities – who did not know of any children who don’t attend school rose dramatically, to just under half (48%). Prior to the introduction of Mary’s Meals to their schools, the percentage was much lower (23%).

Michael, 17-year-old pupil at Madzi Atuwa Primary School

The difference a daily meal makes in enabling young people to stay in school is very apparent to 17-year-old Michael. The hunger he and his classmates felt before the programme began in their school was standing in the way of them making the most of their education.

“In the past, we would get very hungry, and we would opt to go home to search for something to eat. It is hard to concentrate on schoolwork when you are hungry. You can’t focus. Now, even when some of us have to leave home without eating, we know that we shall not go hungry once we get to school because of Mary’s Meals porridge.”

He has felt the benefit of receiving Mary’s Meals at school and knows the difference this has made to his life, so Michael has started encouraging his friends who dropped out of school to re-enrol. “I explain to them that there is no more hunger at school because they can have some porridge that will help them acquire some knowledge to better their lives.”


Support our work this giving season

Standing in solidarity with the children in our feeding programme this Giving Tuesday couldn’t be easier and there are ways for everyone to get involved in our mission. You can choose to gift:


To find out more about joining our Mary's Meals family, visit our contact page.

Two Million Milestone Logo

We're now serving 2,429,182 children every school day.

But 67 million primary school-age children are out of school around the world. Even for those attending school, hunger is one of the biggest barriers to concentration and learning.