View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Scotland-Based Mary's Meals Offers Some Famine Relief

A wonderful tale about two Scottish lads reaching out to help others through Mary's Meals:

During 1992 two brothers, Magnus and Fergus MacFarlane-Barrow from Scotland, watched the TV news from the Bosnian conflict with increasing horror. They were so moved that they decided to organize an appeal for food and blankets.

They quickly gathered a jeep load, joined one of the convoys leaving the UK, and delivered the aid to Medjugorje in Bosnia, a place of international pilgrimage they had visited with their family years previously. Believing their good deed done, they returned to their home in Argyll expecting to resume their jobs as fish farmers. However they came home to discover the public had carried on donating aid in their absence, filling their parents’ garage with goods.

Magnus decided to give up his job for a year to drive the aid out to Bosnia for as long as the public kept donating. The public did not stop and it soon became necessary to set up a registered charity, Scottish International Relief (SIR). The charity soon expanded and began to work in Romania, building homes for abandoned children and, in Liberia, helping returning refugees by setting up mobile clinics, while continuing to deliver material aid to Croatia and Bosnia, and funding additional projects.

In 2002 SIR was operating a simple famine relief project in Malawi when Magnus met a family that led to a whole new area of work. The mother was dying of AIDS and lying on the floor of her hut surrounded by her six young children.

She said that all that was left for her was to pray for her children, that someone might look after them after she had died. She knew that the AIDS epidemic had created 1 million orphans in Malawi alone. When Magnus asked her oldest son what he hoped from in life, his stark reply of - “To have enough to eat and to go to school one day” was not easily forgotten. It prompted the campaign, Mary’s Meals.

The campaign aims to provide chronically hungry children with one meal a day in school. In this way the children are encouraged to gain the education that can lift them out of poverty in later life.

This simple but effective idea has gathered momentum and today provides daily meals for over 500,000 children in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and Eastern Europe. Mary’s Meals headquarters is still situated in the grounds of Craig Lodge in the Scottish Highands but support groups are springing up around the world.

The U.S. branch can be found through


Post a Comment

<< Home