Thought for the Week

I HEAR people say they are dubious of giving to charities because they have heard that sometimes a large percentage of their giving goes to the cost of the charity rather than supporting the people they wish to give to.

The year’s Christian Aid week appeal says: “Your gift will help people living in poverty out of poverty. For good. Please give generously.”

You may say ‘I am not a Christian, why should I give?’ and that is not such an unreasonable question.

However, I would like to ask you seriously to think about helping those considerably less fortunate than yourselves. I enjoy a glass of beer or a good whisky and a nice meal, I do not smoke any longer but I am aware that I spent a lot of money on it in the past. A portion of fish and chips will cost around £5 and even more if eaten in a restaurant, go to a football match or have your hair done and you can spend quite a lot of money.

So what has this got to do with you, I can almost hear you thinking. Well, this is an introduction to saying ‘have you heard of Mary’s Meals’?

Mary’s meals is the charity formerly known as Scottish International Relief (SIR). It was founded in 2002 and has grown from its first free feeding operation of 200 children in Malawi, to a world-wide campaign, providing free school meals in hundreds of schools and feeding 500,000 children daily.

Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, the charity’s founder, believes that it is possible to combat and defeat world hunger and encourage education by the simple method of providing school meals. High profile supporters of Mary’s Meals include the entrepreneur and Dragon’s Den star Duncan Bannatyne, and the philanthropist Sir Tom Farmer.

One of Mary’s Meals’ key projects is based in Malawi, where over 400,000 children are now receiving Mary’s Meals, a daily mix of ‘likuni phala’, a vitamin-laced porridge of Malawi-grown maize, cooked by volunteer mothers at the children’s schools.

Mary’s Meals now help feed children in Albania, Romania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ukraine, Malawi, Uganda, Sudan, Kenya, Liberia, Zambia, Haiti, India, Bangladesh, Philippines, Burma and Thailand. Their awareness and fund-raising efforts include the Backpack Project and World Porridge Day.

Would you believe that £6.15 can feed a child for a year in Malawi? Should you choose to support Mary’s Meals the following are their contact details: Mary’s Meals, Craig Lodge, Dalmally, Argyll, PA33 1AR.

You can telephone 01838 200605, fax 01838 200683 look at the website or e-mail

I do appreciate that many may believe that there are great needs in our own community, let alone around the world, and if you would like to give to support the needs of local people the churches in Montrose have a scheme for providing food for the needy, and they will receive gifts and pass them on.

God Bless

Steve Collis

St Mary’s and St Peter’s Church