April 5, 2020

Dear friend

It is a powerful thing to hold a vision as simple and as mighty as ours. It burns like a beacon and enables us to navigate our way through all sorts of stormy seas. Currently the world is encountering a storm like no other we have ever encountered in our lifetimes - but even that cannot extinguish this thing that lights up our way.

That every child receives one daily meal in their place of education and that all those who have more than they need share with those who lack even the most basic things – that is the vision that beckons us forward. The fact that schools are closed in virtually every country in which Mary’s Meals works is constraining us right now in fulfilling the ‘education’ part of our vision. But not entirely. There is a very good reason for governments to have temporarily suspended schools for the good of the public health of their nations. And with children unexpectedly at home, many of us are striving, as parents, to at least provide some kind of ‘home schooling’ even if some of us might feel poorly qualified as teachers. So millions of homes, including those where we still strive to provide meals, have become ‘places of education’ in a new sense.

The ‘daily meal’ part of our vision is not something that can ever be temporarily suspended – regardless of what is happening with education. We know only too well that for many of the children who eat Mary’s Meals the meal we provide is often their only proper meal in a day.  This is why our staff and volunteers in programme countries have been working so hard to find new ways to get the food to children at home. And thank God for their continued progress and success in that. 

We are also aware of the new hardships present in almost every community in which we fundraise. We know people are facing new challenges and making choices as to where to place their support. It would be natural to worry about if and how our supporters can stay faithful to this mission or if they will become focused instead on the very real needs closer to home? I am not sure we should worry too much about this. It is only right that people should respond to the needs of their closest neighbours if they can. We should never see that as a threat to our mission. For there is that second part to our vision statement which we may sometimes overlook, ‘that all those who have more than they need share with those who lack even the most basic things’. So, we should never fear or feel threatened by people doing just that – sharing with those in need.

We know too that those whose love compels them to help their neighbours at the other side of their street are also very likely to be the same people who feel compelled to help people at the other side of the world.  Authentic charity isn’t interested in borders or in competition. And there doesn’t need to be any competition because, even now, we live in a world with enough for everyone. As long as people are willing to share, and as long as we finds ways to ensure food is delivered to the right place at the right time, there is no excuse for any child in this world – before, during or after this pandemic – to go a day without a meal. We want to see that happen for the children of our neighbourhoods and we want to see it for the children of the world.

Our vision is a mighty thing. Let’s keep working with all our strength so that even more people might be inspired by it. And through all of our little acts of love lets pray that it might be fulfilled for children everywhere – yesterday, today and in all the days to come.

Thank you for everything. Please stay safe during the special, holy week ahead of us.

God bless