Changing the World: Chaminade Seeks to Feed the Hungry Through Mary’s Meals

By: Evan Fiscella ‘21

This week, the students of Chaminade High School are being called upon to fight against world hunger by donating to Mary’s Meals.  

Mary’s Meals, founded in 1992, is a non-profit charity working to support those who suffer from hunger and poverty in developing countries. Created by brothers Fergus and Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, Mary’s Meals can trace its origins back to the Bosnian war. As the story goes, the brothers were eating at a local pub when they saw a news report recounting the devastation the war was wreaking on the local populace. 

Horrified by the suffering of innocents, the brothers became determined to help, deciding to start a donation drive in their local community. Once they received sufficient donations, the two brothers scraped together enough money to buy a second-hand jeep, loaded it up with the donations, and joined an aid mission in the town of Medjugorje in Bosnia, a popular site of pilgrimage. After an arduous week of charity, the two brothers returned to their home in Scotland, expecting their work of charity to be finished. They were surprised, however, by a massive influx of local donations to the Bosnian cause, enough to warrant a total of twenty-two other trips to Bosnia.

Magnus, inspired by this support, quit his job and established the Scottish International Relief organization, which would eventually be transformed into the Mary’s Meals charity that we know today. Magnus worked for ten years in various countries, seeking to simply help the local populace, when one event changed the scope of his charitable mission—he tended to a dying mother in Malawi. She was surrounded by her family when he asked her children, “What do you hope for in life?” The eldest child replied, “I want to have enough food to eat and to go to school one day.” 

This reply is the fundamental concept that Mary’s Meals was founded on: the goal of helping children in the impoverished communities of developing countries. The foundation achieves this goal by giving them enough food to gain an education, which in turn can allow them to escape the vicious cycle of poverty. Inspired by this noble goal, a group of four Chaminade Seniors—Trey Pryor, Liam Maxson, Harry Divaris, and Mark Klein—sought to help contribute to Mary’s Meals, ultimately seeking to make the charity more accessible to those who could afford to contribute.

Mark Klein ‘20, one of the seniors who organized Chaminade’s participation in the charity, talked about his reasons for introducing the school to the foundation: “I think the Mary’s Meals drive is a great way to make a real impact on people’s lives in a very simple way,” Mark mentioned. “Living on Long Island, we are all tremendously blessed. We sometimes take for granted that some people don’t even have clean water or food to eat, but Mary’s Meals makes it easy to help people in need who are far away. For just twenty-one dollars, Mary’s Meals can feed a child in need for an entire year. That’s an astonishing statistic, which, as a Christian, I hear as a call to action. After learning about Mary’s Meals at Hunger (One of the religious events the school hosts), I jumped at the idea to organize a fundraiser for Mary’s Meals.”

Mark’s motivations truly demonstrate the proper attitude towards helping those less fortunate, an attitude that we, as Catholics, should all relate to on a profound level. As it is said in scripture, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.” (Matthew 25:45)

From this Wednesday to this Friday (2/26 – 2/28), Chaminade students have the opportunity to bring in money and deposit it in collection jars in the school cafeteria—just some spare change is an easy way to make a monumental difference.

Ultimately, Mary’s Meals is making an incredible effort to help the disadvantaged of the world, an endeavor all Christians are called to pursue. Thanks to Trey Pryor, Liam Maxson, Harry Divaris, and Mark Klein, the students of Chaminade High School can all make an effort to change the world by helping the poorest among us.