Covid-19 update

Dear friends

Mary’s Meals isn’t a comfortable place to be if we like sitting still. It can feel like we never quite arrive at our destination. As soon as we have got to where we want to be (right now that is being back to feeding nearly all the children in our programme at their homes while schools are closed) a new need seems to always emerge, beckoning us on to the next group of children waiting.

This week, the devastating impact of the Covid-19 lockdowns on the world’s very poorest communities is becoming painfully clear. We have begun to receive some harrowing new requests for help from people we already know and trust who are doing amazing work with some of the most vulnerable children in the world – orphans, street children, those living with HIV and those suffering all kinds of abuse and neglect. One of these groups, working with such high-risk children in an urban slum in one of our programme countries, just sent us this message:

“Most of the affected children used to have food, substandard though, through the caregiver’s informal work which is not possible at the current moment. Anything will be helpful indeed as children are going for days without food. They are likely to die from hunger. And most are living with HIV and are survivors of gender-based violence. We engage the children with lots of virtual psycho-social support but our efforts are going nowhere as they lack the nutrition.’

We are responding to this urgent plea – and other similar ones – as fast as we possibly can whilst not neglecting the enormous task of keeping our promise to the other 1.6 million children relying on Mary’s Meals. For us there will always be ‘the next child waiting’ and our love for that child means that we will never rest until we reach them. Over and over again, we see that all efforts to help suffering children develop and escape poverty are futile if we do not first ensure they have enough to eat each day.

I remember once visiting a school in one of the poorest slums in Haiti, where we had recently begun to serve Mary’s Meals and the classroom walls were adorned with posters that the children had made to welcome us. One said simply ‘Food Makes it Better’. We cannot solve everything. So much of what is going on in the world is beyond any of our control. But for the poorest child, food always makes it better. Much, much better. And it allows them also to journey on from that place, ensuring that for them too, this time of hunger and suffering is not a final destination.

God bless


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