You’re Making A Difference!

Chris Watt © Starting the school day with a meal Pic: Chris Watt

Thanks to you, our wonderful readers, we can now share the success of last year’s Helping Hand Appeal. Your generous donations raised over £49,000 for Mary’s Meals! What an achievement!

Meals can be live-changing Pic: Chris Watt

Meals can be live-changing Pic: Chris Watt

For many years My Weekly’s Helping Hand Appeal has been proud to partner with the charity Mary’s Meals, which provides school meals for children in some of the world’s poorest countries.

Time and time again we have seen the enormous impact having access to nutritious meals can make to children all over the world. Not only are they receiving a much needed meal, they are also in a classroom setting where they can gain an education – often the key to a better and more hopeful future.

Most recently the appeal focused on the charity’s work in Kenya, where 139,807 children now receive a life-changing meal every school day.

As always, readers responded to the 2022 appeal with incredible kindness, raising an amazing £24,527.44. This figure was doubled by a group of generous supporters as part of its Double The Love match funding campaign. This means My Weekly readers have helped to raise a total of £49,054.88 to help hungry children around the world with the promise of a daily meal in school – thanks so much to you all.

Having travelled to India, Kenya and Malawi throughout the years to write about the Helping Hand Appeal, I have seen firsthand just how big a difference your donations make to the lives of so many children.

Commenting on the success of the Helping Hand Appeal, Karen Gray, director of communications at Mary’s Meals, said: “We would like to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has brought food, joy and hope into the lives of children who rely on our meals.

The wonderful support we have received from readers of My Weekly over many years has transformed the lives of hungry children around the world with a nutritious meal in school, giving them the energy to learn and hope of a brighter future.

The money raised from My Weekly’s latest appeal will go a long way to giving a better future to children like Topos.

Topos was in poor health when he started attending his nursery school in northern Kenya. At home, his family struggles to find food for them to eat and four-year-old Topos often goes to bed hungry.

Topos and his friends Epiding and Ikaru Pic: Chris Watt

Topos and his friends Epiding and Ikaru Pic: Chris Watt

With a walk of more than two miles to reach his school, Topos did not always have the strength to attend. But the promise of Mary’s Meals attracted Topos back into class where he has been learning to read and write.

His teacher, Job Eloto, explains: “When Topos was eating every day, he started regaining his health and now he’s much better.

“Mary’s Meals is helping the children to have a meal and it’s attracting them to come to this school.

“When they arrive in the morning you can tell that they have not eaten the previous evening. They look very weak. But when they get the porridge, you see them start playing. The food is helping them continue with their normal school activities.”

Zambia update – Double The Love

Cooking up a nutritious meal Pic: Chris Watt

Pic: Chris Watt

And it’s not just last year that you helped.

More than 141,000 children in Zambia are receiving Mary’s Meals thanks to your incredible response to a previous match funding campaign supported by the UK government.

The generous public donations Mary’s Meals received during its Double The Love campaign in 2018 were matched by the UK government, up to £2 million, helping it to reach hungry children in the Eastern Province of the African country.

The support has allowed Mary’s Meals to reach 141,734 children with nutritious meals in 223 schools across five districts. Of these children, it is encouraging to see half are girls – often the ones who face the biggest obstacles to gaining an education.

Helping Hand Appeal 2023

In November we will be launching our latest HelpingHand Appeal, and once again we will be partnering with Mary’s Meals. This year, we will visit India to find out more about the work Mary’s Meals does there and how your donations can help.

I was lucky enough to visit back in 2012 when Mary’s Meals was feeding just over 4,000 children a day. In just over a decade, their reach has expanded to the point where they are now able to feed over 70,000 children in 165 places of education. However, there are still plenty more children who need your help. Do look out for the launch of this year’s appeal in our November 25 issue, on sale from November 21.

Mary’s Meals serves a daily meal to more than 2.4 million children every school day in 18 countries around the world. It costs just £19.15 to feed a child with Mary’s Meals for a whole school year. For more information on the charity’s work, please visit