Meet Silvia - A Volunteer with a Big Heart

Hairdresser, marathoner, wife, mother, artist, community parish member; in all of her roles Silvia has found a way to help Mary’s Meals' children.

Back to all stories | Posted on 14 April 23 in BlogFundraising

With a heart big enough to embrace the whole world, Silvia is a Mary's Meals volunteer who looks for opportunites to help others in everything she does. Sylvia says the magic fuel for all her energy and impact is PRAYER & LOVE.

Humble, gentle and passionate, Silvia is one generous lady, dedicated to the Mary’s Meals family and other important causes. Besides Mary’s Meals children, Silvia, along with her parish, supports Saint Estevão school in Benguela, as well as many other organizations to which Silvia equally contributes with love and dedication.

In December 2021, Mary’s Meals Portugal was participating in a Christmas market and received a donation of beautiful cribs with handmade figures made by Silvia. At the smae time, she also offered, “I run for charity and would like to run for Mary’s Meals”. Sílvia was 50 when she started to train to run marathons, motivated by the need to help through running for causes, stretching far outside her comfort zone.

Shortly after, Silvia had organized and motivated an entire team to run for Mary’s Meals on the “Edge of Europe Run”, a run each January at the most western cape of Europe.

“We cannot live closed in our world, in our problems. Giving without receiving anything in return is the best way to be happy!” says Silvia.

As Fr. Nuno Westwood, a friend of Sílvia's and great supporter of charity causes, says: “Sílvia wants to leave, in every step she takes, marks of her passage, which make a difference in others’ lives. That's why Silvia walks, goes on pilgrimage, runs... runs a lot to make the dreams of people who are thirsty for hope come true. Sílvia, in her small steps or as an athlete who runs marathons, is nourished by love and makes love her reason for living.” 

“Marathon runners are seekers of hope who choose not to resign themselves to the possible for their lives and dream of the impossible” further adding, “It is also a spiritual experience because you don't just run with your body, but also with the heart: with stories, tears, desires, a lot of energy for transformation, willingness to change.”  says Card. Tolentino de Mendonça.

Silvia’s next challenge will be on June 10th. Silvia will wear her Mary’s Meals t-shirt and run 58 km from Santarém to Fátima in 10 hours, an inspiration for all of us!

Last but not least, Silvia’s Hair Salon offered vouchers for Mother’s Day to “have a haircut and feed a child a whole year.” As well, when possible, she also has a “Hair Marathon”, where for a whole day the total revenue of her salon is for the benefit of Mary’s Meals, while Fr. Nuno volunteers as the cashier, welcoming clients at the salon. 

Thank you, Sílvia, for your enormous generosity and example, for your ability to give without limits and your contagious energy and love!

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