Mary’s Meals says a fond farewell to The Backpack Project

Over the past 17 years, more than 700,000 backpacks have been sent to children in Malawi from the charity’s Glasgow warehouse

Mary’s Meals has brought to a close The Backpack Project, its long-running initiative to gift pre-loved backpacks filled with school materials to children in Malawi.

Volunteers gathered with staff at the charity’s Glasgow warehouse to load up the final container of backpacks bound for Africa. As has been customary over the years, the container was blessed before beginning its journey to Malawi.

The last shipment contained 6,300 backpacks – meaning that Mary’s Meals supporters from across the UK have donated more than 711,000 packs since 2005.

Alan Brown, director of finance and operations at Mary’s Meals, says:

It’s with both joy and sadness that we wave off the last shipment of backpacks, which have had a positive impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of children in Malawi who eat Mary’s Meals. We couldn’t have done it without our generous supporters and volunteers, and I want to say a huge and heartfelt thank you to everyone who has supported the project over the years.

Mary’s Meals serves nutritious school meals in some of the world’s poorest, and often most difficult, locations. The promise of a good meal attracts desperately hungry children into the classroom, giving them the energy to learn their way to a better future.

The charity reaches 2,279,941 children every school day in 20 countries, including Malawi, Ethiopia, and Yemen.

Mary’s Meals announced at the start of 2022 that it had taken the difficult decision to close The Backpack Project, due to greater logistical complexities and increased costs – with plans to focus solely on the charity’s work serving school meals to hungry children.

Alan continues:

At Mary’s Meals, our priority is always feeding hungry children. Today, we face some of our greatest challenges yet in a world devastated by conflict, food insecurity and the cost of living crisis. So, it’s more important than ever that we focus on keeping our promise to vulnerable children of a nutritious daily meal in school that brings hope of a brighter future.

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