The Backpack Project

Many children receiving Mary’s Meals don’t have basic learning tools such as pencils and notepads.

You can support them to get the most out of their lessons by donating a backpack full of the things they need. For many, a Mary’s Meals backpack will be the only gift they’ll have ever had.

What to pack

Since The Backpack Project began in 2005, more than 450,000 filled backpacks have been sent from supporters across the UK and Ireland to children receiving Mary’s Meals.
You can donate a filled backpack, an empty backpack, or any of the individuals items on the list. We welcome good quality, second-hand items and The Backpack Project makes a great recycling focus for clubs and schools.

Open quote mark Can you pass on a message to the people that donated these backpacks? Please say thank you. They have made these children so happy, they’re now proud kids! Close quote mark
Patrick Masiye, Standard 6 teacher, Bangwe CCAP Primary School, Malawi

In a Rush to show we care

Schoolteacher Emma Dennis wanted her pupils to learn about the challenges facing impoverished children in the developing world.

She invited us to come and give a talk at St Catherine’s National School in Rush, County Dublin, to describe what life is like for children receiving Mary’s Meals in school. After the half-hour presentation, the pupils were all geared up to help!

Jeannie Higgins, Fundraising Co-ordinator at Mary’s Meals Ireland, said: “It’s great to see such powerful empathy from children so young; they were all really enthusiastic about taking part.

“The Backpack Project is such a simple way to help children in the developing world reach their full potential and I hope other schools around Ireland will be keen to join in, too.”

Bagging support

For more than five years, a Mary’s Meals supporters group has been meeting in Letterkenny, County Donegal. The group works hard to raise awareness of our work, as well as fundraising and encouraging others to get involved.

First the group raised enough funds to feed every child in a school in Liberia through our Sponsor a School initiative. Then, they felt they should become involved in The Backpack Project, to help children who were now able to attend school make the most of their time there.

Fr Eamonn Kelly, leader of the Donegal group, said: “Between collecting our own bits and pieces and encouraging schools to do the same, we have a steady flow of backpacks to donate all year round. Our group even has a dedicated room where you can find all the items you might need to complete a filled backpack ready to donate.

“It really is so easy for others to get involved — especially at back to school time when stationery and the like is offer in most of the shops. Seeing how happy the children are to receive a backpack shows us how worthwhile this initiative is.”

Needing bags collected?

If you’d like more information, or have backpacks you’d like us to pick up, please contact +353 (0) 1 853 5163.

What to get involved? Find out what to pack.