Origins of our name
Mary’s Meals is named after Mary, the mother of Jesus, who brought up her child in poverty.
The idea of Mary’s Meals came from UK businessman, Tony Smith. He would say it was the inspiration of the Virgin Mary.
Tony Smith had also been touched by a small village in Bosnia called Medjugorje, where it is claimed the Virgin Mary has been appearing since 1981.
While visiting Malawi, Tony Smith was moved by the plight of the poor who were suffering acutely due to severe food shortages.
One evening he listened enthralled to a TV interview with US Senator James McGovern who helped found the World Food Programme. Senator McGovern explained with great passion his belief that providing daily meals to the world’s 300 million hungry children could be ‘the catalyst to a modern day Marshall Plan for economic development in developing countries.’
Pondering on all he heard, the concept of a movement that established school feeding programmes for the world’s hungriest children came to Tony Smith.
Conscious of Mary’s part in his life and the blessings that had stemmed from Medjugorje, he gave his idea the name ‘Mary’s Meals’ and placed the whole project in the hands of the Virgin Mary.
Meanwhile, a charity called Scottish International Relief, led by Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, was involved in delivering millions of pounds worth of emergency aid, and funding various projects aimed at helping the poorest of the poor in Malawi and several other countries around the world. The charity’s roots also stemmed from Medjugorje.
During a meeting with Magnus, Tony Smith shared his vision and suggested that Scottish International Relief put it into practice. And so the story of Mary’s Meals began…