An Armagh-based charity – which works to help give children living in poverty around the world a better life – is planning a ‘pop-up’ shop event to help fund its vital role.
Mary’s Meals in Armagh is part of the worldwide organisation which began life in Glasgow in 2002.
And the local volunteers are hoping especially to reach people who have not yet heard of Mary’s Meals. They want to give an insight in to the charity’s work and encourage as many people as possible to come along to the Armagh event, which will be held on Saturday, June 8.
Mary’s Meals volunteer Ciara Clarke explained the aims and aspirations of the charity in making a difference to those people who need it most.
She said: “Mary’s Meals provides one meal a day for chronically hungry children in a place of education. This meal encourages these desperately hungry children to attend school, which is so important, as education is the way out of poverty for them.
“This is the only meal most of these children will receive. Once the children start attending school they require the essential items our own children here require for school and these items are provided by Mary’s Meals Backpack Project.
“This simple idea of providing hungry children with a meal in a place of education – and also providing each of the children with a backpack full of school essentials – was the vision of Mary’s Meals founder, Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, following his visit to Malawi during a famine.
“There he met a 14-year-old boy called Edward, whose father had sadly passed away from AIDS, and his mother was dying from AIDS herself.
“Magnus asked Edward what he hoped for in life and Edward replied: ‘I want to have enough food to eat and to go to school one day’.”
Mary’s Meals are now providing meals for 1.5 million children – aged between four and 12 years old – in 18 countries across the world.
Ciara added: “Here in Northern Ireland we have the power to change a child’s life forever.
“To feed one child for one year is only £13.90! For every pound donated a very impressive 93p is spent directly on charitable activities.
“One meal per day is the very least a child deserves in life. Although Mary’s Meals is feeding 1.5 million children per school day, another 57 million are in need of urgent help.
“This is why the public donations of finance and school supplies are crucial to help these children who quite literally have nothing.”
That is where the good and kind-hearted folk of Armagh are asked to once again step up and play their part.
Said Ciara: “Here in Armagh we are opening a ‘pop-up shop’ in the Community Centre, at Dobbin Street, on Saturday, June 8, from 11am until 4pm, to raise vital funds to help increase the number of children we are currently providing meals for.”
Bargain-hunters will be able to snap up plenty of goodies including clothing – both new and used – shoes, books, toys, new and used, household items, books and DVDs.
“From our centre in Armagh we send out 150 backpacks per week,” explained Ciara. “Without the continuing generosity and amazing support from the public we would not be able to do what we do.”
Please do come along and show your support!