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Backpack Project

The Perfect Companion to Mary’s Meals

The Backpack Project appeals to schools, clubs, businesses, churches and individuals to fill backpacks with basic educational materials to send to children receiving Mary’s Meals. Most of the children who benefit from Mary’s Meals and the Backpack Project have suffered war, poverty, famine, or natural disaster. Very often families cannot afford to buy basic things like pencils and copy books, or even suitable clothes for their children to wear to school. And so their children miss out on school and an education. A simple backpack with educational materials can be a lifeline to these children as studies show that an education is the best way a chronically poor child can escape poverty in later life.

ST Elizabeth’s PS, Hamilton


Schools and clubs throughout the UK who have recently supported the Backpack Project in the past few months.

Strathaven Academy pupils show off their collection of Backpacks

Arthurlie Nursery pupil explains to the adults how the project works

North Berwick High School pupils loading their 890 Backpacks

North Berwick High School pupils loading their 890 Backpacks

St John The Baptist Primary Pupils Uddingston helping load the MMs van with BPs

Mary's Meal speaker Tom Chamberlan collects BPs at Ferintosh and Mulbuie Schools- two of the UK's most rural schools

Lending Standards Eastnor pictured with collected Backpacks at Castle Ledbury

Bellshill Academy Backpack Posters


Items Needed

The Backpack Project is a low cost way to give.

You don’t need to fill a full backpack, even just a few items from the list will help someone to go to school. As all the backpacks are sorted before they are distributed, these ‘extras’ will be used to top up those backpacks that are missing something. We also encourage that, where possible, items are good quality second hand, or from a value range.



What the Backpack means to a child in Africa

There are 300 million chronically hungry children in the world – most do not go to school. Research shows that basic education is the single most effective way of escaping the poverty trap, and the Backpack Project provides basic school items enabling children to attend school and learn. Mary’s Meals and the Backpack Project are proving to be a simple solution to world hunger.

Donating a Backpack

Taking part in the Backpack Project is a great way to recycle and can be used as a way of participating in the eco-school inititative as well as being an enterprise and citizenship project. We have already delivered over 150,000 donated backpacks to Malawi, Liberia, Uganda and Romania. Your donated backpack will be helping the world’s poorest children. For more information you can download our Backpack Project FAQ below:


Open to everyone

Nursery, Primary, Secondary Schools

A number of resources are available for schools on the School and Club Resources page>

Colleges and Universities

Your College or University can get involved in Mary’s Meals and the Backpack Project.

Clubs, workplaces, other organisations

Perhaps your scout or guide group could arrange a collection of backpacks. For information on corporate support click here >


Backpack Project Resources

There are a number of resources available to support the Backpack Project and to help you promote your backpack collection.

The A5 Backpack Project flyer can be viewed and downloaded opposite and below are a number of other resources you can download including event posters, colouring drawings for children, FAQ, Teachers Guide and more…



Backpack Photo Gallery


Get Involved!

Contact Us

If you are interested in participating or if you would like more information, then please contact us at or call 0800 698 12120800 698 1212.


In some areas across the UK, we can provide a speaker to talk to school and community groups about the project. Please get in touch to see if we are in your area.


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© 2013 Mary's Meals. Registered at Craig Lodge, Dalmally, Argyll, Scotland, UK, PA33 1AR. Charity Number: SC022140 Company Number: SC265941