2020 was tough, but it wasn’t all bad. Let’s take a look back at some of the highlights…

Back to all stories | Posted on 18 January 21 in NewsBlog

The last 12 months have been a little different. We stayed at home, we missed celebrations, we home-schooled, we Zoomed, we wondered if life would ever return to normal.

But through it all we supported, we adapted, we walked, ran and cycled to raise funds, and we continued to be there for those who needed us most.

Although Covid-19 kept us apart from loved ones, the pandemic also helped to bring us together.


The year began with the excellent news that we were now feeding more than 1.6 million children in classrooms around the world!



You generously supported our Together with Turkana campaign to help feed more hungry children in northern Kenya.

With your help, we started feeding at an additional 144 nurseries in the Turkana region and welcomed more than 18,900 new children to the Mary’s Meals family.


As schools and offices around the world closed to prevent the spread of Covid-19, our staff and volunteers had to quickly adapt to working from home.

Together, we found new ways to raise awareness, fundraise and to feed the children who rely on Mary’s Meals.


Despite the challenging global circumstances, we launched a brand new feeding programme in Niger! Working with our partner Grandir Dignement, we began providing vulnerable children in the country’s prisons with a daily meal while they learn.


This month there were more exciting updates from our programme countries about our Covid-19 response. Staff and volunteers were working around the clock to ensure that children could enjoy Mary’s Meals at home.


Our new film, Love Reaches Everywhere, featuring Hollywood actor Gerard Butler, was a big hit! We joined him on a heartwarming journey through Haiti and Liberia to meet some of the people at the heart of Mary’s Meals.



In a throw-back to an earlier film, we caught up with Lette in Malawi, who many of you remembered from Child 31.


On 4 August, an explosion ripped through the port area of Beruit in Lebanon. The blast killed more than 200 people and injured thousands of others.

Although the office of our partner organisation, Dorcas, was damaged, no staff were hurt. Despite the disruption, we continued to work together to feed Syrian refugee children and their Lebanese classmates at schools and education centres in the city.

In more positive news, hundreds of supporters across Ireland took part in a socially distanced walk to Knock. Step by Step raised more than €121,612 – enough to feed 6,645 children for a whole school year!


September was a busy month. Our founder, Magnus McFarlane-Barrow’s new book, GIVE: Charity and the Art of Living Generously was published.

We also began working with a new partner in Zimbabwe, Mavambo Orphan Care, bringing life-saving meals to more than 6,000 vulnerable children, many of whom are living with HIV.


On 10 October, World Porridge Day went online! People from across Europe and North America posted photos of their porridge smiles and raised funds to help hungry children around the world.


A state of emergency was declared as a result of violent unrest in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, where we provide more than 16,000 children with daily meals.

Circumstances in Tigray are still dire. We are continuing to monitor the situation closely and are keeping all those affected by the ongoing conflict in our thoughts and prayers. 


Super-supporter Felix from Germany took on a four-week festive fundraising challenge for Mary’s Meals. Paralysed from the neck down, the 32-year-old swapped his wheelchair for a walking machine and smashed his fundraising target in just a few days. He has already raised more than €136,500 and money is still coming in – meaning his efforts will bring daily meals to 7,459 children for a whole school year!

And Felix wasn’t alone – with your help, we ended the year with a record-breaking Big Family Christmas. Thousands of supporters from around the world set places at our virtual dinner table, giving more than 14,200 children a new year filled with hope.


It has been a challenging year, but thanks to our global family we’ve been able to keep our promise to those that already depend on Mary’s Meals – and bring life-changing meals to even more children along the way.

Thank you. We couldn’t have done it without you.