Mary’s Meals: the story continues

As we step out of a remarkable 2022 and enter a new chapter in the Mary’s Meals story, the number of children receiving a daily meal continues to grow, bringing joy, hope and security to young learners and families around the world.

Back to all stories | Posted on 17 January 23 in NewsBlog

The world has faced immense challenges over the past few years. Many countries are still recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic which upturned people’s lives and livelihoods. Now a global hunger crisis is heaping suffering on millions of people and food shortages along with price increases are exacerbating the existing pressures and hardships confronting the communities we serve. This perilous situation has escalated the need for our school feeding program more than ever. A meal served in school gives children access to a reliable source of nutrition – all too often the only food they will eat that day – and encourages them to stay in school.

More than 2.4 million children are now receiving our meals every school day

Despite the turbulent times, our determination to reach the next child waiting – while keeping our promise to those we already serve – prevailed, and we have welcomed 149,241 new children to our school feeding program in the past year. These new faces bring the total number of children receiving Mary’s Meals every school day as they learn to 2,429,182.

Madagascar, Zimbabwe, India, Haiti and South Sudan were just some of the countries where our program expanded, bringing joy to even more children than before. Late last year in Turkana, Kenya, a region where our meals were previously only served in Early Childhood Development and Education centres (ECDEs), primary school children received their first servings of Mary’s Meals. New partnerships in Zimbabwe and Madagascar were also fostered last year, widening our reach to support thousands more children, many of whom were in desperate need of a reliable school meal.

The cost to feed a child for a whole school year with Mary’s Meals has risen

Further complicating our work, along with the unprecedented need for our school feeding program, is the rising cost of living and global inflation. Fuel, fertiliser and grain prices have skyrocketed over the past year, and our program delivery costs have increased as a result (rising by 20% in 2022). To match this increase, the cost to feed a child for an entire school year with Mary’s Meals will now be $31.70.

As a low-cost charity, we are committed to good stewardship of the funds entrusted to us to bring hope to some of the world’s poorest children. Our meals must be nutritious and reliable, giving children peace of mind and security knowing that they will eat at school. This is the first increase in our costing since early 2020 – and in the time since we have navigated the Covid-19 pandemic and added hundreds of thousands of children to our program.

We need your support now more than ever, as with every bowl or mug served to a child in a place of learning comes a renewed glimmer of hope. Thank you for helping to serve up hope, not only to children but to families and communities.