“Say cheese please for Mary’s Meals” by Bill Heaney

 Say cheese … and crusty bread and delicious home-made soup and apple pie. Artists for Mary’s Meals held a “catch up” lunch meeting on Friday (October 17) to discuss their future plans for fund-raising for Scotland’s favourite charity.

On the agenda already is a fabulous Art Fair and Concert in Glasgow City Chambers, which won’t take place until next October.

“This will involve a great deal of work in planning and preparation, so we have to set the wheels in motion now to ensure its success,” said Netta Ewing, of Artists for Mary’s Meals.

The go-ahead group has some of Scotland’s top artists and musicians donating their talents to the service of poor and disadvantaged children. 

The £7300.00 success of their 2010 summer Exhibition at Macgregor Fine Art in George Street, Glasgow, was discussed, as was the money raised – more than £250 – from a small stall selling cards and paintings at the Mary’s Meals Open Day in Wellington Church, Glasgow, earlier this month.

Artists for Mary’s Meals have plans to produce a CD to raise funds for the charity, an international movement which sets up school feeding projects in overseas communities where poverty and hunger prevent children from gaining an education.

Mary’s Meals currently provides daily meals in schools for over 420,000 children in 15 countries worldwide, including Malawi, which has strong links with Scotland, and Haiti, which was devastated by an earthquake in January and is now threatened with an outbreak of cholera.

Mary’s Meals, based in Dalmally, Argyll, and now also in Glasgow, does its work through the generosity of volunteers. It has only 30 paid staff working worldwide and because they have such low operating costs chief executive Magnus Macfarlane Barrow says 93 pence in every £1 donated to them goes towards feeding and educating needy children.

The meeting was held at the Kilbarchan, Renfrewshire, home of Artists for Mary’s Meals committee member Liz Mackinlay. Special roles for the coming 12 months were allocated to volunteers, including Paisley woman, Robina Cormack, who will take charge of administration and the group’s IT database of artists, musicians, sponsors and patrons.

The committee includes Josephine Torrance, whose group at St Mary’s Church in Duntocher, Dunbartonshire, raised an astonishing £1,700 at an event on World Porridge Day, supplying breakfasts to churchgoers in the village.

Josephine said: “People are really kind and supportive of the work being done by Mary’s Meals. One woman in Duntocher said she didn’t have time to have her breakfast after church … and then pressed an envelope with £100 in it into my hand.”

Artists for Mary’s Meals have raised enough money – more than £11,000 in the past two years – to build and equip a kitchen cum classroom in Malawi.

Design team leader Netta Ewing, of Dumbreck in Glasgow, said: “Funds for a second school are well on the way and over 500 children in the Zhombwe district of Malawi will now be able to start their education with full stomachs.”

Meanwhile, the group gsb gives back focuses on organizing the charity auction, an annual school-wide auction the proceeds of which go to nonprofits such as the boys and girls club and special olympics
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